First the good news. Raisel Iglesias is set to make his first start of the season. The Reds are playing on the road against the LA Angels at 4:10 p.m. ET. You can hear the broadcast on WSAI-1360 or watch it on MLB.tv streaming.

Here’s the rest of the lineup:

  1. Jose Peraza CF
  2. Eugenio Suarez 3B
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips 2B
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Adam  Duvall DH
  7. Ivan De Jesus SS
  8. Yorman Rodriguez LF
  9. Tucker Barnhart C

Iglesias on the mound.

031915-MLB-Cincinnati-Reds-Raisel-Iglesias-PI2.vadapt.620.high.19

Lineup Thoughts

Jose Peraza gets a start in center field. Peraza (.400/.429/.600) joins Jake Cave (.320/.370/.480), Tyler Holt (.318.400/.364) and Scott Schebler (.304/.385/.652) as options to replace Billy Hamilton who are having good spring training performances at the plate. Keep in mind the small sample size, which is an inherent limitation on using spring training as a measuring stick for roster decisions and playing time. See: Brennan Boesch, Chris Dominguez, Kevin Gregg

Get used to seeing Suarez bat second and Votto bat third. We’ll have to see where Devin Mesoraco enters the lineup, if and when he returns to the field toward the end of this week, as has been reported. Mesoraco might slide into the clean up slot, with Bruce fifth and BP sixth.

Reminder: Lineups only matter so much. But every inch counts. Patrick Jeter analyzed the Reds options.

The Reds made the first wave of roster moves today. Carlos Contreras was optioned to Louisville. Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett and Sal Romano were optioned to Pensacola. Assigned to minor league camp: Alex Blandino, Calten Daal, Phillip Ervin, Eric Jagielo, Matt Magill, Nick Travieso and Chad Wallach. No real surprises.

Reminder: As the Reds trim pitchers, consider Grant Freking’s thoughts on the Opening Day bullpen.

Zack Cozart and Jake Cave hit back-to-back homers yesterday. Anthony DeSclafani, who you have to suspect will be the Opening Day starter, had a solid 4-inning appearance.

News and Reading

Now the bad news. Pitcher Michael Lorenzen felt more discomfort in his right elbow after tossing yesterday and will have an MRI today with results announced tomorrow.

Lorenzen was scratched from a start last week after dealing with what was termed at the time as “elbow tenderness.” He had an ultrasound scan that came back clean. Lorenzen resumed playing catch later in the week, but manager Bryan Price said the 24-year-old felt more soreness after playing catch Sunday. The team is expected to announce results on the scan on Tuesday. (Zach Buchanan, Cincinnati Enquirer)

This isn’t what anyone wanted to hear. Lorenzen came into spring training with a real shot at making the starting rotation. Nobody works out harder than Lorenzen. See the gun show below. If it turns out Lorenzen has hurt his elbow, it just proves how vulnerable the ligament is to the force imposed by the throwing motion. The tidal wave of UCL injuries throughout baseball has a number of causes. Various solutions have been proposed, some more modern and successful than others. Let’s hope Michael Lorenzen’s name isn’t added to the list.

Lorenzen Workout

Joey Votto calls out the “loudmouths in the media” who suggested his decline based on a sub-par 2014 season, one derailed by injuries. He talks about his battle against aging in this interesting piece by Zach Buchanan.

The rumors of his demise — propagated after he hit a pedestrian .255 while limited to just 62 games a year before — were greatly exaggerated. When asked if being so written off bothered him, Votto paused to choose his words carefully. “There’s a lot of loudmouths in the media who think they know things, and they don’t,” Votto said. “They’ve got a microphone or they’ve got a pen, and they can say something out loud or write it. Just because they say something doesn’t mean it’s true.

If you’re a frequent reader here, you shouldn’t have been misled by the ignorance of the amplified opinions on the airwaves. At age 32, it’s certainly reasonable to expect Joey Votto to start the gradual slide down his aging curve. On the other hand, last year might have been his most productive ever.

Reminder: We nailed it.

Votto swinging

Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports) interviewed Reds president of baseball operations, Walt Jocketty about the rebuilding the club has done over the past year. Jocketty explains the reasoning for the type of moves the Reds made, including emphasizing near-ready major league players instead of those with a higher ceiling. Overall, the Reds executive remains optimistic.

Jocketty calls the Reds’ post-Chapman bullpen “our big question mark,” but he likes the depth of the rotation and believes the team is on the correct path.

“I think in the next couple of years we’re going to be right back in contention,” Jocketty said. “The Cubs obviously are the strength of the division this year. Pittsburgh and the Cardinals will be strong again. But I think in the next year or so, we’re going to be the right there.”

I’ll have what he’s having.

The Reds have been practicing situational hitting under the direction of hitting instructor Don Long, with Reds Hall of Famer Mario Soto on the mound.

Each hitter in the cage was given two tough pitches from Soto and a specific situation to execute with a runner on base.

It could be runner on third base, with the infield in. The hitter needs to get the ball up in the air. Or a runner on second base with no outs who needs to at least be advanced with a ball to the right side. And whatever is coming from the pitcher won’t likely be easy to hit.

“I want guys to learn how to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable,” Reds hitting coach Don Long said. “Because there will be many days throughout the year where you don’t feel locked in at the plate. The point is, in those moments, are you still competing? Are you finding a way to perform and execute in the situations we’re providing them? (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 48 Comments

  1. Had a blast in Goodyear and Peoria over the weekend. Best comparison I can make is that it’s like seeing an arena-level band play a club show. Every fan should do it at least once. (This was my third trek, not counting the one game I saw in Plant City as a 4th grader!)

    Was great seeing Cozart be Cozart yesterday. Disco pitched well, Cave looks promising too. Wish I could have stuck around for today’s game, but sadly, the rat race beckons.

    These morning digest-style posts have been great. Thanks for all your hard work.

    • Thanks for the first-hand report. I went to Goodyear the first year the Reds were there. Couldn’t agree more how great it is to see the players – both major league and prospects – that close up. Morning practices, too.

      Anyone else seeing games in AZ, please share your thoughts!

      • I’m headed there in a week, two years in a row now. The morning practices, what time, and where? Out back of the complex somewhere, but it’s a huge piece of property.

        • I will be there next Monday too. You can catch Indians batting practice around 10 and then Reds about noon because Reds play night game that day. We had a blast last year. There are all minor league levels of teams on each field, playing scrimmages, doing drills, etc.

    • I agree with David here. These “Lineup, News, and Reading” posts have been fantastic.

  2. I think Peraza as lead-off and CF is a no brainer. It’ll fill a tremendous need in the line-up, which now looks terrific with Peraza CF, Suarez 3B, Votto 1B, Meso C, Bruce RF, Philips 2B, Scott/Duvall LF, Cozart SS, P. Cave should make it as 5th OF.

    • I’d prefer to see Peraza in a rotation with Cozart and Phillips with Cave and Holt platooning CF because Cozart likely isn’t going to be ready to play full time and BP will give them more if he is kept rested. Also I doubt that Meso is anywhere near ready to play full time at the the start of the season.

    • I thought the real no-brainer would have your best hitter get the most potential AB not someone who gets on base below league average.

    • All of the data for Peraza points towards a near-term ceiling being an above-average BA, average OBP guy. Something like .310 AVG and .335 OBP. That’s a ceiling, at this age. Certainly could get better with age. Happens all the time.

      More likely in his first full theoretical MLB season he’ll be somewhere closer to .275/.295.

      He’ll put tons of balls in play; I think that is a given. But the lack of the demonstrated ability to walk is keeping him from being a “no brainer” in a leadoff role.

  3. Iglesias debut today is really large given it looks like neither Lamb or Lorenzen will be available by the start of the season. Price seems to think Lamb will be pitching by late April; but, he didn’t say where he thought that might be, i.e. extended spring/ rehab duty or with the Reds.

    There are a lot of unpalatable options looming where the rotation is concerned. Which is the least distasteful? Starting the service clock on Stephenson/ Reed. Or picking up a vet or two on the discard pile?

    • The talk had been that they hoped to have Iglesias ready for the 1st time they needed a 5th starter which would be the second weekend of the season. However that presumed having 4 other starters to get them to that point.

  4. That is just a plain shame about Michael Lorenzen. This guy has about as low as mileage on a Major League arm as you could probably have, and still the dreaded UCL might rear its head here. You just never can tell. Supposedly the Reds pitchers have an MRI at season’s end and there was nothing to be concerned about. Do pitchers now-a-days get enough rest in the off-season for their arms?? If MLB expands the teams’ rosters to 28 or so, that might be the time to adopt a 6-man rotation.

    • Darwin was right…..except for ligaments.

    • I hope whether with the Reds or not and whether as a pitcher or going back to being a position guy, Lorenzen comes through this and has a nice MLB career.

      For the Reds org, if this turns out to be the worse in terms of the injury, and we don’t know about that yet, it should be a cautionary tale about what can go wrong when you take a 22 year old kid who has pitched less than 75 innings combined at all levels (college and pro) in 2012 and 2013 and push him through 120 innings in 2014 at AA level and follow that up with just under 160 innings in AAA/MLB at age 23.

  5. Peraza showing BHam how it is done from the leadoff spot; 1B, SB, score run on Suarez’s 1B.

  6. The biggest thing about Jumbo may be his ERA this spring. Yuck

  7. Was there anything wrong with Iglesias, other than caution? According to the boxscore on mlb.com, he pitched one inning, facing four batters.

    • His 1st outing of the spring, nothing abnormal with just 1 inning the 1st time out of the chute.

    • From stuff I’ve read it sounds like he ran a couple of counts long and got his pitch count too high to go out for the 2nd which was his innings limit today regardless.

  8. I agree with the others above. I love these daily news threads where we can chat about the lineup/games

  9. If that Peraza can play a bit of center field, it would be handy for the Reds to have a true utility guy.

  10. Former Red Johnny Cueto is one very lucky guy tonight. He took a hard line drive off the noggin, but it looked like he got his head turned to an angle and it was more a glancing blow. It still was hit hard and went over the second baseman’s head into the outfield. He stayed in the game and pitched 3 innings. Two inches the other way and it would have been more like Chapman’s hit. Very very lucky tonight. Johnny B good certainly, but Johnny B Quick tonight.

  11. Certainly pitching options are becoming thinner everyday. The starting candidates from the beginning of the season, besides DeSclafani and Iglesias, are now limited to Reed, Stephenson and Finnegan. Bailey, Lorenzen and Lamb are all headed to start the season in DL. I can’t think of any other candidates.

    • Moscot, although he may be pitching himself right out of contention.

    • I think they’re going to have to pickup someone off the discard pile? Boston sent down Joe Kelly (ex-Cards prospect) last year and I was hoping the Reds could make a deal for him. Someone with an arm rather than some 33 yr old retread would be preferred. Price was a pitching coach after all! Somsen started 4 games last year and they still have Cingrani but they both throw too many pitches to be anything other than a spot starter. It might be good for a few weeks to just see what Somsen has?

      • I think they need to leave well enough alone with Cingrani. The Enquirer ran an article about him last week which seemed to indicate he is now at peace with the Reds and himself concerning his role out of the pen.

        Somesen=Sampson? If so, he has some sort of arm issue himself but is supposed to throw in a game soon.

      • Not very many teams have a surplus of pitching now. I like Joe Kelly as an option. He could always be moved back to the pen when Bailey and Lamb are ready if needed. His stuff could be converted to closer material. Or could be flipped at the July 31, I mean Aug. 1, trade deadline. Joe Kelly, 28, $2.6M contract.
        Another younger starter to lose his starter job and moved to the pen is Arizona’s Randall Delgado, who is still only 26. Delgado is on a $1.3M contract.
        Tampa Bay could part with one of their extra pitchers Drew Smyly or Jake Odorizzi. The price would be higher for either one of them though. Smyly would be an awesome addition. Smyly, 27 in June, is on a $3.8M deal and is a free agent after 2017. Odorizzi, 26, $600k, has his 3 years of arbitration still after this year.
        The Nats could deal Tanner Roark, 30, or even maybe Bronson Arroyo, 39.
        There are a few others out there that might be of help. And with the looming roster cuts, knowing Jocketty, he will go the bargain basement route and wait for someone to be cut before he acts.

        • It’s highly unlikely that they make any trade for pitching. If they need to sign some guys from the trash bin to have some warm bodies until their guys get healthy then so be it. Their record doesn’t matter this year…..whether its 65 wins or 75 is immaterial. They need to develop the position players and see who can actually pitch. That likely means a few “has beens, never were’s and dumpster fires” as a stop gap.

        • The Reds could have had Arroyo all along per his statements if they would have been in even a neighboring area code to the Nats offer which like the Reds is a minor league deal. So, I’m guessing the Reds sit tight on BA in hopes he and the Nats part ways; and, they can get him on the cheap(er).

    • We’re seeing why it is so important to have 7-8 starting pitchers in your stable.

      • Absolutely. It drove me nuts all winter reading about the Reds “abundance” of pitching. 1-2 of those guys will get hurt and 1-2 will likely be bad. They have an abundance of “Pitchers who theoretically could be good.”

  12. Thanks for these line-up postings. They are great!

  13. Here we go with the medical/training staff again. Taking bets who goes down next? Or, what position (another pitcher)? Of, who is down right now but the expected date back gets pushed back at least another month?

    I announced last year that situational hitting can be trained. I was downed by some for making that statement. I will take this post as your apology. It’s apparent those simply didn’t understand the logistics of how to do it.

    • The proof will be in the pudding as far as the situation hitting. If the Reds’ hitters respond and their situational hitting is improved, even marginally improved, I would have to think you were onto something.

      • It’s pretty neat that the Reds are trying.

        Speaking of the training staff, I was watching the Nats and saw a couple more familiar faces in that dugout of theirs. One was Paul Lassard, who is now the Nats’ Head Trainer. He was with the Reds for a long time before that.

      • And, that’s the key. Anything can be trained. But, it’s taking it to the actual game, when it counts, that’s always the final step. No substitution for actual game situations. But, you can make it as close as you can to that situation in practice. It’s definitely a training fact and methodology. It’s just like lifting weights will make players stronger. But, will that mean they will hit the ball farther? In training, it may show that. But, what about the game situations? No substitution for that.

        Jordan use to train that way, also. The reason why he was so successful in the last shot buzzer beaters? He practiced those ever since he was a kid. So that, by the time he was actually called upon for it, he was use to it because he had done it hundreds if not thousands of times before.

    • Reds should be like the other teams, the ones with no injuries.

      • I’d be happy to trade team doctors with them any day of the week, twice on Sunday.

        • Steven, I nominate you to do the research and submit a post to RLN comparing the frequency of occurrence and re-occurrence as well as duration of injuries on the Reds’ recent rosters to that of all other MLB teams. I wonder if other teams experience similar circumstances over time. Lastly, I think a key to your research should be to determine what, if any, effect a team’s medical staff has on reducing the possibility of injury occurrence or re-occurrence. You seem to have a passion for the subject and I know that, I for one, am curious to learn what you find out.

        • If you recall, mrred, I did start this thread “the medical/training staff”. As well as, lots of training that goes on these days is for prevention of injuries as well. Such as, lots of putting some tubing around a hook and doing some simple wrist curls, toe curls, etc., strenghening the small parts of the muscles, etc. But, then, I guess only ones who actually coach and keep in touch with these aspects would by the ones know about these things.

          Training and medical work don’t only come into play “after” an injury or illness anymore. Lots of their work is don’t now “prior to” injuries and illnesses.

          • I think Mr. Red was asking for research and facts to back up your assertions.

  14. From mlbtr. A list of guys (by team) on 40 man rosters who are out of options and would have to be waived if not on opening day 25 man roster or MLB DL. The list is all inclusive. Many, probably even most, of these guys are not going to be waived for outright to minors or release. But it is a starting point to see who just might show up on waivers over the next of weeks.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/03/out-of-options-2016.html

  15. The Reds may put someone else in CF at the start of the season but when deemed healthy and a little time “to catch up” from what he missed in spring training we will have Hamilton there. I don’t agree with that automatic approach but this is the Reds. There isn’t enough time for him to “catch up” but my guess will be about the second week of the season. I don’t mind him so much in CF but he has to hit in the 9 spot if he starts. Suarez hitting in the 2 hole with JV behind him, should give Suarez the best chance for a huge year. I am not sure that switching those two in the order might just be the only “protection” JV would get. I don’t see anyone likely going to have a higher BA on that team and I think Suarez has doubles power. I don’t expect much nor do I ask for much but if one of these new players could be an everyday CF with an OBP higher than their weight would be nice. That would free Hamilton up to go back to AAA ball and see if he can find what he didn’t get the chance to on the way through or for his salary he would make a great late inning defensive switch or PR.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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