The Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and California contingents in the Reds clubhouse have a new challenge from New Jersey.
With the promotion of relief pitcher Nick Christiani from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, the Reds have two Jersey boys on the roster. Third baseman Todd Frazier is a proud native of the Garden State. His cleats feature the phrase “Jersey Strong.”
“All the guys were giving us garbage,” Christiani said Friday, “saying two from New Jersey is too many, but I’m not listening to that.”
Homer Bailey, Logan Ondrusek and Jay Bruce were born in Texas. J.J. Hoover, Devin Mesoraco and Chris Heisey were born in Pennsylvania. Mike Leake and Manny Parra are California natives, and Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Ludwick were born in Florida.
Christiani, a 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander, is from Linden, N.J. He played four seasons at Vanderbilt University. He was drafted by the Reds in the 13th round in 2009, began his professional career with the Dayton Dragons in 2010 and had pitched in Louisville since the second half of the 2011 season.
Christiani was 6-5 in Louisville with a 4.05 ERA in 47 games this season. He had a 2.00 ERA in his last 10 appearances.
Christiani didn’t pitch in Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks. That was probably a good thing after his hectic day.
“I got the call at 11 from our trainer, who said I need to call the manager, Jim Riggleman,” Christiani said. “I couldn’t get a hold of him. I had to call him five times. I finally got a hold of him. He said I was going to Cincinnati. I took a shower, packed my stuff, went to Louisville, picked up my baseball stuff and headed straight here.
“I didn’t show up until the fourth or fifth inning and just headed straight out (to the bullpen). By 4 o’clock, the game was over. The five hours were probably the most wild of my life, but well worth it.”
Christiani figured he was getting the good news when he was told to call Riggleman. The Reds needed another reliever after Jonathan Broxton was injured Wednesday.
Curtis Partch, who was with the Reds earlier this summer, might have been the choice to replace Broxton, but he had just returned from Louisville’s seven-day disabled list on July 17 with a right biceps radial nerve injury. Partch had made three scoreless appearances since then.
When Christiani pitches, it will be his major-league debut. On Friday, he described the feeling of getting called up for the first time.
“You play your whole life waiting for that call, that moment,” he said. “It was every bit as exciting as I thought it would ever be and more. It was amazing.”
Brewers at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410