CINCINNATI — Manager Bryan Price leaned back in his office chair, locked his hands behind his head and flashed a smile.
Talking as if he might be a television anchor, he said, “And here’s some good news.”
Good news? Coming from the home manager’s office in Great American Ball Park? There hasn’t been good news emanating there since, oh, the second week of spring training.
After Price said, “And here’s some good news,” he had to wait for the media laughter to subside before he continued.
“Marlon Byrd’s rehab and recovery has done way better than I anticipated,” said Price, referring to his left fielder who broke his wrist 14 days ago. “His broken bone has mended quickly, he doesn’t have soreness and he has done a lot of baseball activity while we were on the road, including swinging a bat, running and throwing.”
As a result, Byrd was scheduled to play a rehab game Wednesday night in Pensacola and play again Thursday and possibly return to the Reds for a weekend series against the Miami Marlins.
“That’s not good news, that’s great news,” said Price. When somebody said it was an amazingly quick recovery for a broken bone, Price said, “Yes, it really is. I don’t anyone could anticipate how quickly he came out of that immobilization wrist guard. To actually return to baseball activity so soon is awesome.”
To make it even more awesome, Byrd hit a three-run home run for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Wednesday night.
RETURNING NOW TO regular programming, i.e., injuries, the prognosis for pitcher Jon Moscot is not good. In fact, it is bad.
Moscot separated his left shoulder, his non-pitching shoulder, making a diving tag during a rundown play last week. There is a distinct possibility he will require surgery, something that was to be determined late Wednesday afternoon.
“We know the shoulder injury is fairly extensive,” said Price. “You hate to say it doesn’t look good for his imminent return, but I think it is fair to say it will be a while before we see Jonny back pitching again.”
Of course, these days the Reds are searching blindly for positives and Price said, “If we are looking for things that aren’t as bad as they look, then it is absolutely right that it is good that it is Moscot’s non-throwing shoulder. But it is a dislocation and if you don’t get that shoulder stable it can happen again with a much higher probability.”
JOEY VOTTO WAS NOT in Wednesday’s lineup, but nothing is amiss. Just a routine day off.
“This a stretch of our first 20-straight games, so this is simply a day off,” said Price. “We got Jay Bruce a partial day off yesterday with him being a DH, a bit of a breather. Todd Frazier is another guy who may necessitate a day off in the near future.”
IS THERE ANY OTHER good observations coming from the manager’s office?
“Well, it is an awful lot of fun watching Todd Frazier,” said Price. “We all know how fun it is to watch a guy doing something particularly well for a stretch of time. Watching Todd hit right now is an awful lot of fun.”
Frazier has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games (19-46, .413) with seven doubles, four homers and nine RBI.
ASKED HOW THIS SEASON, stuffed with even more injuries than last year, feels in comparison to last year, Price was philosophical. How else could he be?
“It is difficult to put into words and articulate it in a way that anyone would understand, because it is convoluted over what our expectations were,” he said.
“We knew going into the season we had to stay healthy and that has been challenging,” he said. “But we have good athletes and guys who play with energy, passion and love for the game. We are getting a chance to see younger players and some of the players we got in trades. We’re giving opportunities to guys at the Triple-A level. It is not what we anticipated and not what we expected our 25-man roster to be in mid-June. But it is and there are some exciting young guys to see.”
THINGS ALWAYS CAN be worse, like in Philadelphia. Is Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg the next to go? A scout who was at Tuesday’s game, an 18-3 piece of ugliness lost by the Phillies to Baltimore, said midway through the game the bullpen occupants took the phone off the hook. They didn’t want any part of the game. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur pitched the final two innings for the Phillies, the only scoreless inning a Philadelphia ‘pitcher’ recorded.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We still have a competitive 25-man roster so there is no reason to turn down our expectations. We’ll play hard and see where things fall.” — Reds manager Bryan Price.