Dragons hope to get most from Ludwick

Dayton Dragons manager Jose Nieves worked with Cincinnati Reds left-fielder Ryan Ludwick for a short time in a big league camp a few years ago, when Nieves was starting his coaching career.

He remembered Ludwick as affable, personable and social, which is one reason he’s happy the Reds standout will be starting a rehab assignment on Wednesday with the Dragons when they visit Lansing for the start of a three-game series. Ludwick will play all three games for Dayton as a designated hitter.

Ludwick separated his shoulder sliding into third base during opening day on April 1. Last season, his first as a Red, he hit .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs batting clean-up. The result was Cincinnati making the playoffs and signing him to a multi-year contract.

“He’s a nice guy, loves to interact with people and loves the game,” Nieves said. “He isn’t the type of big-leaguer who is cold. He prefers to socialize with people and players love being around him.”

That makes him the perfect model for Nieves’ group of minor leaguers. Dayton’s proximity to Cincinnati means it’s a prime spot to get players on rehab assignments. Nieves tries to take advantage of every opportunity he can to have these players impress upon the Dragons what it takes to be a major-league baseball player.

“I try to take advantage of these guys,” Nieves said. “I’ll tell them about some of our kids, and see if they can approach them individually or in group meetings. Unless they were some phenom coming out of college, they’ve been in this exact situation.

“It gives our guys the chance to see these players are regular human beings, the difference is how they think about the game, how they prepare, their mental toughness and their consistency — that’s what got them to where they are.”

Vincej off DL: Dayton’s all-star shortstop, Zach Vincej, was activated from the disabled list Monday. Vincej suffered a strained abdomen on June 27. He has played in 70 games this year for Dayton, batting .280 with 25 RBIs. In his 17 games prior to injury, he hit .473 and was leading the Midwest League in batting average during the second half.

Vincej sat Monday’s game because the team wanted him to work a couple batting practice sessions before returning to the field, presumably on Wednesday when Dayton starts its series in Lansing.

“For me, shortstop is the toughest position in the infield,” Nieves said. “You need someone who is settled and familiar with it. Having him back may not minimalize some of the errors we’ve been having in the infield, but it’s a huge add because it stabilizes the position and he was batting well and he can hit behind runners.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Legendary Reds scout Gene Bennett dead at 89
Legendary Reds scout Gene Bennett dead at 89

Gene Bennett, the legendary scout who urged the Cincinnati Reds to draft Derek Jeter only to have his pleas fall on deaf ears, died Wednesday in Portsmouth, Ohio at 89. “Gene was one of the game’s great scouts,” Reds owner Bob Castellini said. “He loved baseball, loved his team and forever changed the way we looked for talented...
HS Results 8/16: Green leads Southeastern in tri-match

Avery Green’s 34 helped carry Southeastern in a boys golf tri-match at Locust Hills on Wednesday. Southeastern shot a 162, Cedarville 182 and Catholic Central 197. Green was the medalist, with Adam Wood of Cedarville getting runner-up at 40. Noah Myers (Cedarville) and Tray Thompson (Southeastern) each added a 41 for their teams. Boys Golf Fairmont...
Bengals rookie reluctant to talk, eager to shine
Bengals rookie reluctant to talk, eager to shine

There are two nights during Jordan Willis’ brief NFL career that illustrate who he is as a person. The first was April 28, the day the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Willis in the third round out of Kansas State. While other prospective picks were partying with friends and family while watching the draft on television, Willis was sitting alone in...
Springfield North football: Top 7 players in Panthers history
Springfield North football: Top 7 players in Panthers history

As rivalries go, Springfield North and South had it going on as good as any in the state for its time in the spotlight. Football games at Evans Stadium on Clifton Avenue were a must-see event. Growing up to be a celebrated Panther or Wildcat was a handed-down and expected tradition. North always seemed to be in catch-up mode to South in football, especially...
Observations from final full practice at Bengals training camp
Observations from final full practice at Bengals training camp

The Cincinnati Bengals held their final full practice of training camp Wednesday, and the first one void of any fans. After a walk-through Thursday, the Bengals will take Friday off and then face Kansas City on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. After that, the schedule shifts into regular-season mode, where media are kicked out of practice after 30 minutes...
More Stories