Reds Connection: Will Mike Leake ever pinch hit?

Q: If any player were ever to actually hit the Toyota Tundra truck on that perch in Great American Ball Park, say on the door, how far would the ball travel? — BRUCE, CINCINNATI.

A: A fur piece. An unreachable reach. A mile-and-a-half. A pipe dream. I’ve only seen one ball hit that might have broken the truck’s windshield and that was the 535-foot blast hit by Adam Dunn in 2004 of LA’s Jose Lima that came to rest on a piece of wood shore of the Ohio River. Just a guess, but it is doubtful any fan will ever drive that truck home.

Q: Why hasn’t Mike Leake been allowed to pinch-hit this year? — JOEY, LONDON, KY.

A: It might be his .196 batting average with 13 strikeouts in 51 at-bats. Yes, Leake is a better than average batter — for a pitcher. Yes, he played shortstop at Arizona State when he wasn’t pitching and hit well. Leake would be the first pitcher manager Dusty Baker used as a pinch-hitter if he were out of pinch-hitters. But to just send him up as a pinch-hitter most likely would be a waste of an at-bat and that’s the last thing the offensive-challenged Reds need to do.

Q: Why do they bother to mark off the first base and third base coaching boxes when the coaches never stand in them? — CURLY, CLAYTON.

A: The Fear Factor. They mark the boxes adjacent to the bases and the coaches do stand in them when there are runners on their base. But otherwise they stand farther away from the batter’s box to avoid being maimed or crippled by line drives. It’s also why coaches now wear batting helmets. It’s a dangerous profession and as we all know it is harder to hit a moving target. Those guys are also constantly moving and that one square designated for them to stand in is too small.

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