By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — When four young Cincinnati Reds pitchers roomed in the same house during spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., somebody called it, ‘The House of the Rising Guns.’
The occupants were Sal Romano, Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed. When camp broke, they sere split in half — Garrett and Romano left with the Reds while Stephenson and Reed were assigned to Class AAA Louisville.
And that’s the way it stayed for most of the season. Reed made a one-day appearance as the 26th man for a doubleheader and Stephenson was recently called up.
And on Monday, Reed was recalled and the message for them is, “Together Again.”
Reed was a starter in Louisville and, no, the Reds are not going into a seven-man rotation. For now, the left handed Reed is a bullpen occupant.
Reed parked his car and was putting his gear on a bus for a trip with Louisville when manager Dick Schofield told him, “Don’t get on that bus. You’re going to Cincinnati.” So Reed tossed his a bags into his car and joyfully drove north on I-71. “Now I’m back with my buddies and that is a morale boost for me just to be with them.”
It was a much more pleasant drive than the one he made as the extra man for the doubleheader because he knew it was for one day and he would be driving right back. And he didn’t get to pitch that day.
“When I came up here for just one day I wondered, ‘Man, am I ever going to stay? Hopefully, this is the time.”
Manager Jim Riggleman said not only will Reed be here more than three hours in a Reds uniform, but he is here to prove it or get out. He is 1-8 with 6.75 career earned run average in 11 major league starts and 11 relief appearances.
Reed came to the Reds in the trade that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City, along with John Lamb (long gone) and Brandon Finnegan (trying to find his way out of Louisville). When the deal was made, the Reds tagged Reed as the dealmaker.
“He has done a real nice job in Triple-A, as of late,” said Riggleman. “He is another guy we just have to get more information on as we go along. We feel he can be a significant part of this ball club in the future. He is 25 and it is time for him to come in here and solidify his spot on the ball club.
“He is going to be in the bullpen even though he was starting in the minors,” Riggleman added. “He can always go back to start. Back in the day a guy would be a starter in the minors and start in the bullpen in the majors and work his way into the rotation. Right now, wherever he can help us.”
Reed’s problems when he was with the Reds was command and control. He walked himself back to Louisville and said that was what he has worked on improving the past two years. He made only one start and 11 bullpen appearances for the Reds in 2017.
“I’ve made any adjustments with my delivery or my stuff, I’ve just come up with attitude that I’m better than that guy with the bat in his hands,” said Reed. “I’m trying to do my thing by going back to my old ways (when he was a combined 12-6 at Class AA Pensacola and Louisville in 2015/16). I’m just acting like I have nothing to lose.”
Reed said starting helped him gain the command and control he lacked, “And I was going deep into games. In a recent start I almost pitched a complete game, but a bloop hit got me out of there. That’s boosted my confidence, throwing everything for strikes and having great command of my fastball.
Asked if the bullpen is an adjustment, he said, “Nah, it’s still 60 feet away, it’s all the same. Sometimes it might be for one inning and sometimes for six. That’s the only difference and it is how sore I’ll be the next day.
“The last time I was here they told me I was going right back down after the game, so that gave me a rough mindset going into the games,” he said. “I had to drive right back down after the game, so that was rough. Now I just have to take advantage of this opportunity.”
BILLY HAMILTON RECEIVED the day off Monday that he almost got Sunday. Before Sunday’s game Riggleman told Hamilton he would get Sunday off, “But he had had some success against Godley (Arizona starting pitcher Zack Godley) so said, ‘Let’s go ahead and play you Sunday and I’ll give you Monday off.’” Hamilton went 1 for 2, one of the six hits the Reds collected off Godley.
“Hamilton is pretty worn down,” said Riggleman. “He has played a lot of baseball, him and Jose Peraza. I have to try to find days off for them now and then.”
OUTFIELDER SCOTT SCHEBLER is headed back for another rehab assignment in the minors. Schebler spent considerable time at Class AAA Louisville as a designated hitter, but couldn’t play in the field because of the strained joint in his shoulder prevented him from throwing. He threw before Monday’s game and is headed back on rehab, “And it isn’t likely we’ll see him up here for at least a week,” said Riggleman.
FORMER REDS MANAGER Bryan Price has a new vocation. He is on MLB’s radio network and recently did an interview with his former catcher, Tucker Barnhart.
THERE IS AN UNUSUAL Dayton connection to a relief pitching statistic from the 2017 season. They keep totals on how many baserunners a relief pitcher inherits when he comes into the game.
Last season, the most runners inherited by a relief pitcher was 55 and that was for San Diego pitcher Craig Stammen, a University of Dayton product. No. 3 with New York Mets relief pitcher Jerry Blevins, also a University of Dayton product. And No. 4 was Arizona relief pitcher Andrew Chafin, who was born in Kettering.
There must be something in the Great Miami River water.