So the Reds played their first spring game of the year yesterday against the Indians in Goodyear. It started well and ended poorly from a results standpoint, but results don’t really matter right now. The pitching in the game resembles a Louisville box score from three months from now with the exception of Contreras. The names were there, but the results weren’t. Tony Cingrani, Curtis Partch, Clay Hensley, Pedro Villarreal, Jose Contreras and Drew Hayes combined to give up 11 runs in 8.1 innings with 6 walks and 5 strikeouts.
Coming off of the rough outing, both John Fay and Mark Sheldon have articles up on Cingrani today.
From Fay’s article is a quote from Cingrani that says this:
As long as the secondary pitches are good, I’ll be OK
Fay follows that up by saying that he threw almost all fastballs in his outing. Not surprising given it was just one inning. But, Cingrani has been reluctant to use his offspeed stuff in the past, particularly his breaking ball. Hopefully he is beginning to understand that need more and more.
From the article by Sheldon it this quote, that expands a little bit on the usage point from Cingrani:
This outing, I threw a lot of fastballs. I mixed in one slider. We just stuck with the fastball this time around. Next time, we’ll mix some more pitches in there.
I don’t think that anyone expects Cingrani in the Majors to start the year. One of the things that will be very important to watch while in Louisville, is just how often he throws the slider and if, at all, it is improving. I would actually like to see the Reds force him to throw, say 15-20 sliders per game depending on his pitch count. His developing a solid slider is the difference between 180 innings and 60 innings.
Mark Sheldon posted an article on Billy Hamilton on Thursday afternoon at Reds.com. It focuses on his transition to center from shortstop and has quotes from Eric Davis on how Hamilton is handling it. You should go read the entire article, but this quote from Davis about Hamilton really stuck out to me, and it isn’t the first time I have heard someone say something like this about Hamilton:
“The thing that separates Billy from a lot of people is he’s a student of the game. He has so much pride that he doesn’t like to embarrass himself. You can tell him something once, maybe twice, and it’s like a recorder in his brain. He can turn around and implement what you told him to do very quickly. That’s not the case with all youngsters. … Once he gets a full year of consistent outfield play, you’ll see a dynamic center fielder.”
While there was a game, not everyone played and some of the pitchers threw live batting practice to the minor leaguers who are in Arizona already. Last years second round pick Tanner Rahiers is one of the minor leaguers in camp early and he took Armando Galarraga deep in live batting practice. Can’t be a bad feeling for a teenager.
Later tonight I will be participating in a podcast on the Reds. If it goes well, it should be a regular feature throughout the year. We are still testing some things out, but it has the potential to be pretty strong if it works out. I will have more on it tomorrow and hopefully a lot more details to go along with it. I am fairly excited about it though, so stay tuned.