Pitcher Tony Cingrani and catcher Corky Miller started for the Triple-A Louisville Bats on April 9. On Tuesday, in the second game of a three-game series against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park, they found themselves in the starting lineup for the Reds.
Instead of Johnny Cueto throwing to Ryan Hanigan, as it was on Opening Day before both players went on the disabled list, the Reds had a 23-year-old making his second major-league start throwing to a 37-year-old journeyman making his first big-league appearance since 2010.
“He’s catching tonight because he knows Cingrani,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “(Devin) Mesoraco had to call him to ask advice about how to catch Cingrani. We’ve got an advice-giver in the house. I see him watching on the bench. You listen to Corky.”
Baker sees a future in coaching for Miller, but he can still play and that’s why he’s back in the big leagues.
“Corky will be good someday, just not yet,” Baker said. “He’d be a heck of a manager, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
First home run: Jay Bruce homered in Monday’s 5-4, 13-inning victory. He now has one home run in 85 at-bats and 20 games. He had six home runs in the first 20 games last season.
Bruce is as unconcerned about that fact as Joey Votto was with his homerless drought. Both concern themselves more with their overall numbers. Bruce is hitting .282.
“Are we making too much out of it?” a reporter asked Bruce.
“Yeah, you guys are making too much of it,” Bruce said. “I figured I’d hit one sooner or later. I didn’t think very much of it. History shows I hit home runs. As soon as you start pressing and trying (to hit home runs), that’s when things turn south. You just have to stick with the approach that works.”
Hit again: Shin-Soo Choo has set a Reds record in his first month with the team. He was hit by a pitch for the 10th time Monday, the most any Reds player has been hit in a month and the most anyone in the big leagues has been hit in a month since Craig Biggio in 1997.
Jason LaRue owns the team single-season record. He was hit 24 times in 2004.
“I’ve got concerns,” Baker said. “They’re throwing him inside. Evidently, they think that’s his weakness. If they throw inside, he’s going to get hit. Most of the time he doesn’t really get hit hard. Most of them are glancing blows, but getting hit is getting hit. There’s a knack to getting out of the way. Nobody’s trying to hit him. You don’t want to put him on in front of the guys batting behind him.”
That’s not all Choo has done. Through Monday’s action, he led the National League in hits (26), on-base percentage (.521) and multi-hit games (10). He has reached base in all 19 games in which he has played.
Rehab outing: Sean Marshall, recovering from tendinitis in his left shoulder, pitched the first inning for Triple-A Louisville against Indianapolis on Monday. He struck out two and threw 14 pitches.
Hamilton update: The most exciting prospect in the Reds’ minor league system, outfielder Billy Hamilton, is off to a slow start in Louisville. He’s hitting .231 with a .296 on-base percentage.
Hamilton does have 13 stolen bases, almost twice as many as anyone else in the International League.