The newest Red, infielder Henry Rodriguez, is nicknamed Pollo. That’s chicken in Spanish.
“Pollo can hit,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker before Friday’s game against the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. “That’s what he’s here for. I hope he helps us win a game or two. He’ll probably pinch hit more than anything.”
Rodriguez was called up from Triple-A Louisville on Friday, and Pedro Villarreal, who was called up Wednesday to make one start in place of Johnny Cueto, was sent back to Louisville. Rodriguez appeared in 12 games for the Reds last season and was hitting .279 in Louisville.
Baker said Tony Cingrani is the “likely choice” to start when Cueto’s spot in the rotation comes up again Tuesday in Chicago.
Cingrani is 2-0 in three starts with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings since returning to Louisville. Cingrani made six starts earlier this season when Cueto was on the disabled for the first time.
Good quote: Baker had the perfect statement on a season that has been anything but easy despite the team’s record (36-24 going into Friday).
“It’s been a pleasant struggle,” Baker said.
The Reds are 5-2 in games decided by walk-off hits, and they have nine comeback wins. They’re 29-5 in games they lead after the seventh inning and 29-1 when leading after the eighth inning.
It’s the games the Reds have blown, two in the eighth inning this week, that stick with Baker.
“It seems like it’s been a struggle the whole time,” Baker said, “because of the way our games go. We haven’t blown many teams out, and we’ve only been blown out a couple times. We’ve been in almost every game, and if we had a hit or two more with runners in scoring position, we’d be a whole lot better.”
Draft news: After drafting Samford University outfielder Phillip Ervin in the first round Thursday night, the Reds took six right-handed pitchers, a third baseman and a shortstop in their next eight picks.
Their pick in the second round was pitcher Michael Lorenzen of Cal State-Fullerton. Lorenzen pitches and plays center field. He was drafted out of high school in the seventh round by Tampa Bay in 2010.
The Reds’ other picks in the first eight rounds were: third baseman Kevin Franklin, Gahr High School (Calif.); pitcher Mark Armstrong (Clarence High School, N.Y.); pitcher Ben Lively, University of Central Florida; shortstop Cory Thompson, Mauldin High School (S.C.); pitcher Zack Weiss, UCLA; pitcher Tyler Mahle, Westminster High School (Calif.); pitcher Scott Brattvet, Cal-State Bakersfield.
Phillips returns: Brandon Phillips returned to the lineup Friday after missing four games with a bruised forearm. He was hit by a pitch Saturday in Pittsburgh
Heisey update: Chris Heisey’s scheduled rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville this weekend was postponed, and he didn’t have a timetable for when he might try again. The Reds left fielder, on the disabled list since April 27, felt soreness in his injured hamstring after working out Wednesday.
“I didn’t have any sharp pains or anything, but after what happened last time, I have to know I’m ready,” he said, “and I don’t feel it quite yet.”