» Reds minor-leaguer suspended 50 games
» Barnhart treasures Gold Glove, seeks repeat
» Ex-Dragon Mahle ready for run at rotation
Here are five things to know about the exhibition opener:
Gold Glove, Silver Slugger
Tucker Barnhart hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw of the spring. Danny Otero’s pitch was last seen clearing the right-field wall.
Barnhart won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award but is not known for his bat even though he hit a respectable .270 last year his best ever.
Better Call Sal
Sal Romano, known as “Big Sally,” started for the Reds.
The big Connecticut right-hander was intent on attacking the strike zone with an eye toward the Reds’ open fifth starter job. Romano is challenged by Tyler Mahle, Michael Lorenzen, who starts Saturday against Colorado, and Robert Stephenson.
Romano allowed two hits in two innings, including a long home run to former Reds’ No. 1 pick,, Yonder Alonso.
“I fell behind one or two hitters but was able to get back in the count,” Romano said. “The solo homer — that stuff’s going to happen. It was a first-pitch fastball. I used my change up, twice. I threw three curve balls, all were strikes. It was a really successful day.”
Tyler Mahle, another hopeful in the rotation battle, pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk.
Mahle was a cool customer, pitching out of a jam in his second inning of work. Mahle finished last season strong. This year he is concentrating on competing.
“I have a better chance this year,” Mahle said. “I’m going about it the same way I did last year. Just do my thing. That’s the only thing I can control.”
Phil Gosselin took over for Eugenio Suarez at third base. He can play all of the infield positions and the outfield.
The 29-year old led the Major Leagues with 20 pinch hits and 83 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2016, had two hits in two trips to the plate.
Brendon Dixon, who is also trying for a spot on the Reds’ bench, homered off Preston Claiborne.
Rosell Herrera also homered for the Reds. He is a long shot to make the Reds’ outfield.
Off the Wall
Jose Siri, who had a 39-game hitting streak at Dayton last year, had to leave the game in the eighth inning. He crashed into the center-field fence chasing a ball hit by Richie Shaffer, that ended up a two-run triple.
“He pinned back his thumb on his left hand and it knocked the wind out him,” Bryan Price said. “He was catching his breath. We weren’t going to mess with it. We didn’t know for sure what was going on with his thumb. I don’t think it’s terribly serious.”