Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

Gardner mum on injury status

ATLANTA –- If Yankees left-fielder Brett Gardner knows what the outcome will be of the examinations this week on his strained right elbow, he wasn’t saying in the clubhouse prior to Tuesday night’s rematch against the Braves at Turner Field.

He saw Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on Monday and is scheduled to be examined by Reds orthopedic physician Timothy Kremchek for a third stab at it on Thursday. Surgery is certainly a possibility, delaying his return until well into the second half of the season.

“I prefer not to talk about what Andrews said at this point,” Gardner said. “I’m going to see Kremchek on Thursday and I’ll tell you guys what the decision is after that. I want to get all the information together before I say anything. Hopefully it will be positive and we’ll go from there.”

Gardner has been on the disabled list since making a diving catch at Yankee Stadium against the Twins on April 17. He’s tried to recoup twice, but has shut it down both times. The elbow injury is particularly bothering him when he takes his swings at the plate.

He played in nine games and was batting .321 at the time of the injury. Gardner said that the goal undoubtedly is to play again sometime this year.

“That’s what the hope is. That’s what it certainly is in my mind,” Gardner said. “I’ve done everything I can do and the training staff has done everything it can possibly do over the last seven weeks to get me back out on the field. It hasn’t worked out the way we thought, but hopefully I’ll be back soon.” 

 

Baker reveals left knee surgery

GOODYEAR, Ariz. –- Reds manager Dusty Baker revealed on Wednesday morning that he underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee this past Jan. 4. Baker said that he has an arthritic bone-on-bone situation and that knee replacement could be next.

“That is what I’m trying to avoid, right now,” Baker said prior to a split-squad doubleheader against the Padres and later the Dodgers at Goodyear Ballpark.

Baker had been icing the knee as reporters came into his office for the regular morning media session. He said it was a recurrence of an old injury he had as a player decades ago.

“Surgery once every 35 years, I’ll take it,” Baker said.

Baker, a Sacramento, Calif., native who still spends the offseason there, said that the knee locked up on him on Dec. 26 when some frayed meniscus caught in the joint. He and his wife were supposed to travel to Vancouver the next day.

“My wife said, ‘You’re not going to Vancouver, you’re going to see the doctor.’ I told her, ‘I don’t want to go to the doctor,’” Baker recalled. “But I did and when the doctor looked at it he said he wanted me right in for the surgery.”

Johnny B. Baker Jr., 62, played 19 years for the Braves, Dodgers, Giants and A’s. He’s a prostate cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with the disease that kills 50,000 U.S. men a year back in 2002 when he managed the Giants. This is his fifth season managing the Reds after stints in the same job with the Giants and Cubs.

Baker also said that Wednesday was a tough day for him because his father, Johnny B. Sr., would’ve been 87. His dad passed away in late 2009.

“He loved to plant and raise roses and I love to do it,” Baker said. “I’m sorry if I might have been a little cross today, but it’s a tough day.”

Latos considers trade to Reds a win-win

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Mat Latos said on Tuesday morning that the Padres did him a favor this past offseason by trading him to the Reds. The right-hander is ticketed for the top of the Cincinnati rotation, much like he was in San Diego.

The trade surprised and shocked Latos, he said before practice on Tuesday morning at the Reds’ Spring Training complex.

“All of the above,” Latos told MLB.com. “I think they did me a favor. It’s the best move the Padres could have made. The four guys they got, they felt, offered more value to them than I did. In the end, it turned out to be for the best.”

The Reds traded four players for Latos: right-handers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger, first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal. Latos and Volquez are expected to swap spots in the starting rotations of their respective new clubs. Alonso is hoping to win a spot at first base in San Diego, which later traded highly touted Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs.

Grandal was a top Reds prospect. Boxberger is a reliever who was working his way up the Reds system and had a 2.93 ERA at Triple-A last year. Both are probably ticketed for the Padres’ Minor League system this season.

San Diego GM Josh Byrnes, reached at the Padres camp by phone on Tuesday, said Latos was a victim of his talent level as the new general manager tried to recast a team that finished at the bottom of the National League West this past season.

“Any player that you can trade and get four back is obviously pretty good,” he said. We valued Mat a lot. If we didn’t get that back, we wouldn’t have traded him.”

As the Padres went from contender to pretender from 2010 to ’11, Latos’ stats also flipped. He was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA in ’10 and lost the final game of that season to the Giants in San Francisco when the Padres were eliminated from the playoffs. The Giants went on to win the World Series.

Last year, he was 9-14 with a 3.47 ERA as the Padres lost 91 games. He started 31 times in each of his first two full seasons. He is just 24 and had long been a prized player grown from Day 1 in the Padres system.

Still, despite the loss of his 2010 dominance, Latos said he was assured by members of the Padres’ hierarchy that he wouldn’t be traded. Byrnes replaced Jed Hoyer as GM after Hoyer’s departure to the Cubs, and things changed.

“From the talks I had with certain people, it didn’t seem like I was going to be traded,” Latos said. “Then again, I was. So it goes. Did it have anything to do with the change in GMs? I don’t know. It’s irrelevant to me now if it had anything to do with that.”

Byrnes agreed that the transition to him from Hoyer might have had an impact on a prime young player being traded.

“We certainly took a fresh look at any way we could improve,” Byrnes said. “Being honest, I’m not aware of any assurances that he wouldn’t be traded. The only reason we were willing to do that trade is that we got four players back. Anything short of that and it wouldn’t have happened and we would’ve kept Mat.”

Latos said on Tuesday that his shoulder feels healthy and the move into a different organization hasn’t been that difficult.

“It’s great. I’m having fun,” he said.

Dusty Baker, the Reds’ veteran manager, added that he’s watching and learning as he views Latos’ habits both on and off the field.

“He has a lot of upside potential. That’s what we’re banking on,” Baker said. “Not just for the short term, but for the long term. Like I tell everybody — especially the new guys — just be yourself. It’s like being the new guy in the office. It’s always going to take an adjustment. Everybody comes with a reputation and a jacket. Bad, good, true or false. This is a new start. You have a chance to change that jacket.”

My Hall of Fame ballot for 2010

I first met Roberto Alomar on a visit to the family household in Salinas, Puerto Rico, in 1987. He was 19 years old. He and his older brother Sandy Jr., then 21, were out in the street in front of the house playing with remote control cars. They were still in the Padres’ Minor League system and as big kids had their lives in front of them.

Sandy Jr., was always more verbose than Robbie. He was a take control kind of kid and took my wife and I on a tour of the southern coast of the island not far from Ponce, where Benito Santiago grew up. My wife, Alicia, loves to sip the milk of coconuts and Sandy took us to a road-side hut along the Atlantic Ocean shore where the owner sliced open a coconut with a machete for her. A fine catcher in his own right, he’s always been that type of guy.

Robbie was playing second base that winter for his dad, who managed Santorce in the Puerto Rican Winter League. That’s the first time I ever saw him on the field. Even at that age, playing in a dusty old stadium, it was easy to see that the kid could play. He was more than a prospect. He was the real thing.

It’s now 23 years later and Roberto has had what I call a Hall of Fame career, coming up with the Padres in 1988, winning two World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992-93, batting .300 with 2,724 hits and .984 fielding percentage. I’ve known Roberto and his family for so long that I discount the spitting incident as an aberration in a great career. After all, he spit in the face of an umpire, John Hirschbeck, who Robbie said called him a derogatory name that takes on even more significance in the Latin culture. Hirschbeck, who had lost his son at the time, wasn’t in the greatest state of mind. The two made peace. Let’s move on.

This year I filled out my ballot, using all 10 slots. Of the newcomers I voted for Robbie, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez. Of the returnees, I checked off Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Lee Smith and Mark McGwire. I added Robin Ventura to the bunch just because he was a personal favorite. I doubt Ventura will even get the 5 percent requisite vote to carry him over. If he doesn’t at least he knows he got one vote. Mine.

Usually, I vote for three or four guys, but this year I decided to spread it out. I’ve never voted for Blyleven, Morris or Dawson, but under closer scrutiny all deserve a place in Cooperstown. Morris was the best pitcher in the American League for a decade and turned teams into World Champions, winning in Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto. Blyleven is fifth all-time in strikeouts (3,701). Of his 287 wins, 60 were shutouts. Dawson played on bad knees and with sheer guts. His numbers certainly stand up to Jim Rice, who was elected last year.

I’ve voted for McGwire every year he’s been on the ballot and will continue to do so. I’m not sure what to do with players whose careers spanned the steroid era, particularly when the use of those drugs are implied. Next year we’ll have Rafael Palmeiro on the ballot. He’s only one of four players to amass 500 homers and 3,000 hits — Eddie Murray, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron are the others. He also failed a drug test at the end of his career. What will I do about Rafi? It will all go into the mix. I have no hard and fast rules.

I vote for Smith and Trammell every year. It baffles me why Smith (478 saves for third on the all-time list) and the great shortstop Trammell are not in the Hall. I couldn’t vote for Barry Larkin this year because Trammell is not a member. Larkin: a .295 lifetime average, 2,340 hits, 198 homers and 960 RBIs in 2,180 games, all with the Reds. Trammell: .285 with 2,365 hits, 185 homers and 1,003 RBIs in 2,293 games, all with the Tigers. What am I missing here?

McGriff and Martinez are also worthy. Fred was a great guy and a great player who’s career arch ended with him seven short of 500 homers. He was such an impact player everywhere he went, I’m not going to hold that against him. Neither should Edgar’s accomplishments be shrouded by the fact that he was a true designated hitter throughout most of his career. He played in Seattle and the American League utilizes that rule. That’s the way his managers chose to use him. He’s a .312 lifetime hitter with 2,247 hits, 309 homers, 1,261 RBIs, a .418 on-base percentage and a.515 slugging percentage. Let’s look at the numbers, not his position. That’s what I went by.

So that’s the way I did it this year, the 17th time I’ve voted for the Hall of Fame dating back to 1993. I’ll be looking forward to the announcement on Wednesday to see how my writing colleagues judged it as well.

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