Today, I’m headed to Salt River Field to check out a Reds/Rockies game. Perhaps I’ll get to see new Reds closer, Sean Marshall, in action.
Dale Sveum kinda told Jim Bowden yesterday that he had four pitchers locked into the rotation – Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Paul Maholm, and Chris Volstad (not Jeff Samardzija) – and then later in the day kinda denied that he said that. Volstad was largely expected to be in the rotation, so there’s no surprise there, whether he’s locked in, or just pretty-much-locked-in. It’s interesting, though, that Sveum didn’t mention Samardzija, a guy he’s previously called a near lock for the rotation. I’m assuming he wasn’t swayed by one bad Samardzija start…
Speaking of which, Sveum says Samardzija learned a valuable lesson from his beating at the hands of the Rockies on Friday. “You can’t throw 90 percent of all your pitches 91 miles an hour and above. You better have unbelievable location if you do that. Obviously, his location was not so good and up in the zone. It doesn’t matter how hard your cutter is or how hard you throw, if you’re up in the zone against big league hitters, it’s going to get hit. You’ve got to control bat speed and we really didn’t do that too well yesterday. It was hard, hard, hard, hard and the location is not there.”
Assuming both Volstad and Samardzija are in the rotation, that means it’s bullpen or bust for Randy Wells (who looked very much like he was competing for a relief job yesterday). “There’s obviously competition going on,” Wells said. “If you start getting caught up in that, it makes it tougher to pitch. I just go out there and try to do my best …. I’d be disappointed [not to make the rotation]. Three years in the rotation, to have to go to the bullpen – but it could be a new challenge and something exciting.” I’m not sure that Wells would be in the pen long-term, though. He’d probably be the first or second to fill in when a rotation injury inevitably happens, or if someone doesn’t work out as a starter. Or, he could still be traded.
Sveum suggested in a couple places yesterday that he could go with just one lefty in his bullpen (James Russell), much to our surprise. Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Rafael Dolis, and Russell are essentially locked in. That leaves three spots, which could go to Wells, Lendy Castillo, and one of Casey Coleman, Rodrigo Lopez, or Manny Corpas, for example.
Marcos Mateo’s MRI revealed no structural or ligament damage, but the righty will be shut down for at least 10 days before being reevaluated. The elbow injury is similar to the one he suffered last year, before sitting for over three months.
Kerry Wood is battling back issues, and hasn’t pitched in a week. Wood has had back problems for years, and Sveum says he’s not worried.
Dale Sveum says he doesn’t buy the day games at Wrigley Field as a problem for Cubs players. “In Chicago, it’s always the thing that’s brought up — the day games. It’s irrelevant. You should have the home-field advantage, if anything, playing all the day games, playing at Wrigley and having that kind of atmosphere every day. When you cross those lines, I guarantee there’s no one tired. I’ve never heard anything like that. Baseball players, we stand around the whole game.” I would expect Sveum to say nothing less. I’d be annoyed if he said it was an issue, actually. But, yeah, it’s an issue, as we’ve discussed at length here before.
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