7/13/2014 8:30 P.M. ET
Selflessness key to Reds' first-half success
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- If there's a central theme to the first half of the Reds' season, manager Bryan Price said on Sunday it's selflessness.
"I think coming into Spring Training, some of the players would have admitted that it was one of our Achilles' heels as a team, was playing a bit selfishly," Price said.
He added that much of what the Reds have been able to accomplish over their successful run of the past six weeks or so -- particularly with the increased capability to come back when down early in games -- stems from that unselfish attitude.
"When you see the effort by a run-producer, a middle-of-the-order guy, to advance a runner with a ground ball or maybe drive something through the right side, it's infectious," Price said. "With people that know baseball -- and I think everyone in our dugout has a pretty good understanding of what good situational baseball is -- you get a lot of praise when you sacrifice your personal statistics for the betterment of the team."
Price hopes to cultivate that selfless mindset beyond 2014.
"I like to think that it can be something that is maintained and increased and improved upon," said Price, "not just over the course of a season, but over the course of an era."
Simon's starting success gets All-Star nod
CINCINNATI -- Alfredo Simon is heading to Minneapolis as an All-Star.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who was made Cincinnati's fifth starter as Mat Latos recovered from offseason right elbow and left knee surgeries, pitched so well he remained in the rotation. He is tied for the Major League lead in wins (12) with Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees, Rick Porcello of the Tigers, and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.
Simon, selected as an All-Star for the first time in his seven-year career, has also posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 18 starts this season.
The righty was added to the National League All-Star roster because teammate and fellow All-Star Johnny Cueto started against the Pirates on Sunday and elected not to pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
According to the "Sunday Pitcher Rule" of the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, a pitcher who starts on the Sunday before the All-Star Game may elect not to participate and, if he does, would be limited to one inning and may set a pitch limit.
"I'm really happy," Simon said. "I've never been in the All-Star Game and they've given me the opportunity this year and I deserve to be there. ... I was in the bullpen and I had surgery in 2009 and then came back and this year became a starter -- and to make the All-Star Game is huge for me."
Reds manager Bryan Price informed Simon that he had been selected while the team was in the dugout during Sunday's 6-3 win over Pittsburgh. His teammates were all excited for him -- especially the man he would be replacing on the active roster.
"Everybody was jumping off the bench and everybody was congratulating him," Cueto said through translator Tomas Vera. "I'm really happy because I think he has all the numbers and all the credit to be there. I'm really happy that we have another partner from our team that's going to be there for us."
Simon's selection to the NL squad means that five players will represent the Reds at the All-Star Game for the first time since 1991 (Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Paul O'Neill, Tom Browning and Rob Dibble). He joins Cueto, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Aroldis Chapman.
"I couldn't be more excited, I don't think there's a more deserving guy," Price said. "Of those that were omitted, to have 12 wins at the break -- I think he had 11 before everything was final with the voting and the roster construction there -- he pitches a lot of innings, doesn't walk anybody, has a low WHIP, and is as deserving as anybody on that club to be there."
Santiago dealing with sore left shoulder
CINCINNATI -- Infielder Ramon Santiago, who started at second base in Saturday's 6-5, 11-inning loss to the Pirates, tweaked his left shoulder on a diving attempt to snare a ground ball up the middle in the first inning. He wasn't penciled into the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale.
"I think he's probably a little bit sore, but he can play," manager Bryan Price said of Santiago. "He got a little beat up yesterday, as you saw. But [the medical staff] did all the tests and stuff on him in there, and he had good strength and swung the bat fine and seemed to be OK. But I think he has the chance to feel a little bit more sore today than yesterday."
With Sunday's contest being Cincinnati's last prior to the All-Star break, the time off couldn't come at a better time with all of the club's injuries -- particularly with Brandon Phillips (left thumb) and Skip Schumaker (concussion DL) out, leaving Kristopher Negron, who started at second on Sunday, as the lone option at the position behind Santiago.
Price learns not to be too critical of his moves
CINCINNATI -- As he approached his first All-Star break as a big league manager on Sunday, Bryan Price reflected on the first half of the season and the lessons he's learned. He said the biggest, for him personally, was to not over-critique his own managing decisions.
"[Saturday] was a great example," Price said. "There were a couple opportunities there to bunt, and I chose not to because the baserunners weren't real speed guys and I felt like there was a chance we could bunt ourselves into a forceout and waste an out. I used three pitchers to pitch the eighth inning in a game where we were up by a run. If that was a tie game, I wouldn't have done that; I probably would have gone to [Manny] Parra but not brought [Jumbo] Diaz in.
"But these are the things you think about over time -- that you should be more active on the hit-and-run, things of that nature. But I know that that's why you see these [managers] with white hair in their 40s and 50s. I'm well on my way, but I'm trying to keep the dark hair as long as possible. But even as a pitching coach, self-persecution is something that you do, and I'm trying not to do that."
• Infielder Jack Hannahan continued his rehab assignment with Class A Dayton on Saturday. He had right shoulder surgery last October. He's played in three games, all as the designated hitter, and is 3-for-9 with a double and an RBI.
"He's starting to do some things at first base and we're segueing probably from DH to first base and eventually to third base," Price said. "But he's doing some different throws -- like that 3-6-1 double play -- which requires a different arm angle and footwork. So every time we reintegrate something, there's typically a little more soreness afterward, as you would expect while getting into shape.
"So we're taking a step and then we're taking a day off for recovery. He felt great yesterday."
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.