8/16/2014 1:23 A.M. ET
Price stands behind improving Hoover
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
DENVER -- There is no doubt that Reds reliever J.J. Hoover has often struggled this season and he has the 1-8 record and 5.13 ERA in 43 games entering Friday to prove it. Lately however, Hoover has shown promising signs.
There have been no hits allowed by Hoover in any of his last three appearances and no runs allowed over his last four. He has 10 strikeouts over his last six innings pitched.
"There are certain pieces to each pitcher's delivery that makes them very successful or vulnerable to missing locations," Reds manager Bryan Price said Friday. "I think he's really got his delivery in shape. And he's just feeling it."
Hoover, who has 48 hits allowed with 27 walks in 52 2/3 innings, has shown better command of his fastball and breaking ball of late. Earlier in the season, he was used in higher-leverage situations, especially when Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman were both on the disabled list.
Recently, Price has used Hoover in lower-leverage situations and Hoover has produced. He could increase his profile again with continued progress. Price remains in the right-hander's corner.
"Hoov kind of lost his way there for a while," Price said. "[But] I think he's proven he's an outstanding Major League pitcher. I can't let a two- or three-month stretch define who he is as a Major Leaguer. It's hard to find guys who pitch out of the bullpen that go four, five, six or seven years of real dominating performances. You don't want to quit on guys that have stretches of ineffectiveness."
Negron enjoys career night in front of family
DENVER -- Kris Negron wanted to treat Friday's latest opportunity to play for the Reds vs. the Rockies as just another game. But the rookie utility player also knew he had family at Coors Field in from California to watch him play.
Negron, who started at second base, did not disappoint. It was quite the contrary as he notched a career-best four hits, including the game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth for a 3-2 Reds win.
"I always come in ready to work, ready to come out and play a good game," Negron said. I looked forward to today. My mom, dad and grandma were all in town. It was good to be able to get a game like that."
Negron, 28, was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on July 10 after second baseman Brandon Phillips went on the disabled list. In his 22 games, including four starts, he's hitting .292. His first two hits of the season were home runs.
During Spring Training, Negron had a good camp but did not make the team.
"He was on the radar but kind a distant on the outer rings of the radar," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's taking advantage of this opportunity. That's really what we're playing for right now."
Negron started the night with a bunt single in the first inning, and had a sacrifice bunt in the third inning. He reached on an infield hit to the shortstop in the fifth and singled to right field in the seventh.
Facing Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino in the ninth, Ramon Santiago hit a leadoff single to right field and advanced on a Zack Cozart sacrifice. Following pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker's walk, Negon delivered a line RBI single to center field for the go-ahead run.
"I've had a couple of opportunities to come up with a hit towards the end of the game," Negron said. "It felt good to finally get one through. The other day I had a big chance and I hit back up the middle against Boston and it got caught."
Negron has logged over 3,200 Minor League at-bats since 2006, including the last four years mostly at Triple-A save for four big league games for Cincinnati in 2012.
"One of the things when you become a coach or manager, you take a lot of pleasure in the successes of your players," Price said. "To see them play a game like this, I'm certain he'll never forget, to impact us in such a big way for a much-needed victory, is terrific."
Axelrod being called up to fill in for Bailey
DENVER -- The Reds announced Friday that right-handed pitcher Dylan Axelrod will be called up from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday to replace the injured Homer Bailey for a start vs. the Rockies. Axelrod arrived at Coors Field on Friday.
Bailey was diagnosed with a flexor mass tendon strain in his right forearm and will be placed on the disabled list.
Axelrod, 29, last pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on Monday for Louisville and will be pitching vs. Colorado on his normal rest. Purchased from the White Sox on July 17, he is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts for Louisville and 8-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 23 games overall. He worked a two-hit shutout to defeat Rochester on Aug. 5.
"I'm throwing the ball well," Axelrod said. "Everything feels like it's coming together mechanically and mentally. I have a lot of confidence right now."
Axelrod appeared in 48 games -- with 30 starts -- with a 5.36 ERA for the White Sox from 2011-13. He called the change of scenery a "breath of fresh air."
"It might be one of those subconscious kind of things where you get complacent in a place you're at," he said. "Just seeing new faces, being in a new organization kind of makes you want to prove yourself all over again."
Besides it being his turn to pitch, Reds manager Bryan Price felt Axelrod is currently pitching the best of anyone at Louisville.
"And he has some fairly considerable Major League experience, which will allow him to be a lot more comfortable here," Price said. "He's probably the most ready to come and help us. And he's throwing the ball well. It's a nice combination."
No consideration was given to calling up any of the three Reds pitching prospects at Double-A Pensacola -- top prospect Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen or Daniel Corcino. Stephenson has a 4.59 ERA in his 23 games and Corcino has a 4.21 ERA in 25 games. Lorenzen has a 2.98 ERA in 21 games but will soon have his innings capped.
Price felt all three had a ways to go before they could challenge for a big league rotation spot.
"You either have those seasons that people notice or a stretch of a season that people notice," Price said. "In this case with Dylan, he's had a nice stretch at this part of the season with us in Triple-A. It's got him on our radar at the Major League level. When guys are up here, we have to be confident that they're ready to compete at this level, not just take the ball and going out there and throwing it. [They can't] put us in an environment where we're covering them with a lot of bullpen every fifth day."
Frazier day to day with lower back soreness
DENVER -- Reds third baseman Todd Frazier was unable to start vs. the Rockies on Friday because of lower back soreness. Frazier, who played first base on Thursday, was injured while hitting during the 7-3 loss to Colorado.
"In the second at-bat, on a changeup, I kind of swung and hit it off the end. A pain shot up the right side of my back," explained Frazier, who grounded out to first base on that play. "I was never the same since that at-bat. Running was probably the biggest problem. I could swing but if I had to leg one out, there was no way. Jogging really hurt. That's why I wasn't really running to first, because I couldn't."
Frazier has been undergoing treatment but felt worse Friday than he did Thursday. He is listed as day to day.
"Hopefully [Saturday] I get in," Frazier said. "if not, I'll try to get ready for those NL Central games, I guess."