Sports Today: Cincinnati Reds call in legends to work with Hunter Greene 

  • Marcus Hartman
9:58 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 Sports
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff
Former Reds Barry Larkin (11), Eric Davis (44) and Paul O'Neill pose with the World Series trophy during a 25th anniversary celebration of the 1990 World Series championship on Friday, April 24, 2015, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

If you’re really into the whole, “Hunter Greene is the next face of baseball,” thing, well, last night was a good night for you. 

The Reds’ first-round draft pick made his professional debut last night in Billings, Mont., and he stroked a two-run triple for his first hit as a Mustang

Greene is a prospect as a pitcher and a shortstop, but he got his feet wet as the designated hitter in his debut. 

According to the 406MTsports.com, two former Reds greats (now special assistants for the organization) were there to see it: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis. 

Also revealed last night: Greene is set to pitch for the first time Aug. 28. 

“Being able to contribute at the plate and then also do it on the mound and help my team out and try to get a win that day is something I’m really looking forward to,” Greene said. “I can’t wait to get the support from the fans, and all my teammates and my coaches and go out and pound the zone like I usually do.”

Assuming he is going to get regular chances to bat while also working on his pitching craft, Greene’s development has the potential to be absolutely fascinating. 

Sending two of the team’s best ambassadors out west to work with him seems like a great move by the organization as well… 

The parent club’s game against the Padres in Cincinnati was another reminder taking a player who could be a major league in the field or on the mound was important for the Reds. 

Sal Romano’s stinker of a start (five runs allowed in six innings) was unfortunately par of the course for young pitchers* trying to make it in Cincinnati this season. 

RELATED: Hamilton’s catch highlights another Reds loss

(*At least the ones not acquired from the Marlins.) 

As Marty Brennaman pointed out on the radio broadcast last night, the alarming thing is not so much various struggles by guys like Romano, Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, etc., it is that finding progress is difficult. 

After fielding one of the worst bullpens in history last season, the Reds have a historically bad rotation this season. 

The ERA for Reds starters stood at 6.01 before the game. It now stands at 6.02. That ranks last in baseball by a wide margin. Baltimore Orioles starters have a 5.57 ERA.

Reds starters have never finished the season with an ERA over 6.00, at least since 1913, which is as far back as BaseballReference.com’s database goes. Only 11 teams since 1913 have seen their starting pitchers post an ERA of 6.00 or above for a season.

Seems kind of troubling, doesn’t it? 

Health is a factor in holding some of these prospects back, but the organization would seem to bear some responsibility for that, too. 

If it’s not physical, perhaps they need to re- um, think the way they are teaching the mental side of the game as guys try to transition from the minors to the big leagues… 

Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton takes away extra bases in game against Padres on Aug. 8, 2017.

The biggest news out of Bengals training camp yesterday involved coach Marvin Lewis. 

He was unable to lead practice because of an unidentified health issue, though he was at the facility for at least part of the day. 

With special teams coach Darrin Simmons running practice, a pair of youngsters continued to stand out. 

They haven’t shown if they can carry it over to an actual game yet, but Carl Lawson and Joe Mixon could bring a couple of things that no team can get enough of. 

RELATED: Day 10 observations from Bengals camp

In the case of Lawson, a college defensive lineman learning to play linebacker, that would be the ability to get to the quarterback. Some guys just have a knack for it, and he is one who seems to have “It” both on and off the field. 

Then there is Mixon, a big-play running back who can turn a routine play into a touchdown with his instincts, quickness and speed. 

Game-changing plays are the name of the game in football, especially at the highest level, so it should be interesting to see if they can keep it going when they are facing someone else’s players... 

Lastly, here’s a cool story on a former Dayton Flyer: Chris Wright is not done playing basketball yet, but he’s getting a jumpstart on the next phase of his life by signing a deal to become a part owner of a new restaurant brand coming to Dayton. 

Wright joins current Trotwood-Madison football coach and former Ohio State/Alter standout Jeff Graham in getting into the food industry via Pennsylvania chain called Duck Donuts. 

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