8/24/2014 7:46 P.M. ET
Price hopes Cozart's defense isn't overlooked
By Andy Call / Special to MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price agrees that, in this case, the numbers don't lie.
Zack Cozart led all shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved (+21) and Ultimate Zone Rating (11.5) entering Sunday, according to Fangraphs.com. Price, who watches Cozart every day, has no subjective reason to disagree that Cozart has been the best defensive shortstop in baseball this season.
"Every ball he gets to seems to end up in his glove, and then he makes an accurate throw to first base," Price said. "It's really been a great year for him. I hope it's not overlooked."
Cozart helped preserve Saturday night's 1-0 victory over Atlanta by staying with Tommy La Stella's hard-hit grounder in the seventh inning, then flipping the ball to second base well ahead of the runner for an inning-ending forceout to leave the bases loaded.
The 29-year-old shortstop came into Sunday having committed just one error since the All-Star break and eight overall. Only three full-time shortstops in baseball had fewer errors and only three had a better fielding percentage than Cozart's .985.
"No one takes more pride in his defense," Price said.
Cozart has not contributed as much offensively, although three hits on Sunday bumped his season average from .220 to .225. The highest his average has reached this season is .238, on July 9.
"It stands out more if he hits .260 and has 23 errors that have led to some problematic losses," Price said. "You must have defense in that position. It hasn't been a great year for him offensively, but I appreciate that he's been able to separate the two."
'Invested' Chapman shows his shoulder is fine
CINCINNATI -- Aroldis Chapman's first stop when he arrived at Great American Ball Park on Saturday was the manager's office.
"He walked in and said, 'I expect to be used tonight,'" Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That's not a conversation you expect at that point. He said it before he even had his workout clothes on."
Cincinnati's three-time All-Star closer had worked one inning against Atlanta on Thursday to test his sore shoulder and two innings during an extra-innings loss on Friday. In his most recent outing before the Atlanta series started, Aug. 17 at Colorado, Chapman had issued four walks without recording an out, then reported shoulder problems.
Chapman showed no signs of physical, mental or emotional fatigue Saturday, striking out the side in the ninth inning to preserve the Reds' 1-0 victory over the Braves.
His 27th save of 2014 follows 38-save seasons in '12 and '13. Chapman's insistence on being available to his team, even in the dog days of August during a trying season, may have been more important than the save itself.
"There has certainly been a huge evolution," Price said of Chapman, who signed with the Reds in 2010 after defecting from Cuba. "He is getting comfortable with baseball and getting assimilated to his teammates, and I don't think it's come real easy for him. He's very, very invested."
• The Reds traded Minor League catcher Bryan Anderson to Oakland on Sunday for a portion of the A's international bonus pool.
• Devin Mesoraco was 0-for-3 with a walk Sunday, extending his current slump to 1-for-32.
• Jumbo Diaz has stranded 12 of 13 inherited runners since being promoted from Triple-A Louisville.
Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.