Agents: Wide receiver Brandon LaFell agrees to terms with Bengals

Published: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 @ 4:48 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell carries the ball during their 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Nov. 20 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell carries the ball during their 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Nov. 20 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell will be back with the Cincinnati Bengals.

LaFell agreed to terms with the team today, according to a tweet from his agents — Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod. The Bengals have not announced the deal.

LaFell caught 64 passes for 862 yards and six TDs last season as a complement to Pro-Bowl receiver A.J. Green. For his career, LaFell has 342 receptions for 4,715 yards and 26 TDs.

Prior to 2016 season season in Cincinnati, LaFell spent four seasons in Carolina and two with New England.

He was due to become a free agent at 4 p.m. Thursday when the new NFL season begins.

Hartsock: Gilkison expands lead in Dayton Metro golf tournament

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 3:51 PM

Highlights of third round at Heatherwoode G.C. in Springboro

He knows what it’s like to come from behind to win the Dayton Metropolitan Championship, now Josh Gilkison is on the other side.

The defending champion took a six-shot lead into Sunday’s final round at Heatherwoode Golf Club in Springboro.

He trailed by six shots a year ago before rallying to force a playoff with Adam Armstrong, he won in four holes.

Gilkison grabbed a two-shot lead after firing an eight under par 62 in Friday’s second round. He followed with a seven under 63 on Saturday.

“I’m playing really well right now, Gilkison said. “I’m hitting it well, and really seeing the lines of my putts.”

The 19-year old has played 33 straight holes without a bogey. He and his older brother Jake, playing in the final group, took turns making birdies on their home course Saturday.

“It’s a big advantage because I’ve played it so many times I really don’t have to think what I’m trying to do.”

Jake Gilkison was six under par through the first 11 holes to close within two shots, but he played the final seven holes in one over par and stands alone in third place at eight under par.

The Gilkison brothers will be joined in Sunday’s final pairing with five-time Metro champion Pete Samborsky. The 43-year old matched Josh Gilkison’s 63 on Saturday, shooting a five under par 30 on the back nine.

Newly crowned Ohio Amateur champion Austin Sipe started the day two shots behind, but the Centerville native had trouble figuring out the Heatherwoode greens. Sipe struggled to a one over par 71, and finds himself 10 shots behind with 18 holes to play.

Is there a ‘Scooter’ in the Reds future?

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 5:39 PM

CINCINNATI — Now that Scooter Gennett is an every day player for the Cincinnati Reds, what might his future be?

His contract expires after this season. Either the Reds sign him to a multi-year deal or he can become a free agent and peddle himself to the highest bidder.

Every team needs a Scooter on its roster.

So far the Reds have made no move on Gennett, not even talked to him about where he stands for 2018 and beyond.

The 5-10, 185-pound Gennett is only 27, probably in the prime of his career, and could easily be considered part of the Reds rebuild.

AS HE IS SHOWING, HE is far more than the guy who dressed as the Easter Bunny one year for the children of the Milwaukee Brewers. And he got married in the cold beer cellar of the Miller Brewering Company in Milwaukee.

Gennett was born in this area and was a resident in Lebanon until he was about 10. And he wants to be part of the Reds future.

“They’ve been pretty busy with all the moves they’ve made (the pitchers shuttle between Louisville and Cincinnati) and the trade deadline is coming up,” said Gennett. “So I’m sure the time for me will present itself, but I haven’t heard anything yet.”

BECAUSE OF HIS DIMINUTIVE stature, his energy and hustle, his wear-it-on-his-sleeves love for the game, Gennett quickly became a fan favorite, even before hitting four home runs in one game.

Now he is a legend.

Asked if he wants to come back to a last place team still assembling building blocks, he said, “Absolutely. Everybody who has been with his coaching staff — hey, everything about being here has been great. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

GENNETT, THOUGH, REALIZES the business end of baseball and said, “Sometimes all that doesn’t matter and it doesn’t matter what the player thinks. They are in control of those things. But I’d love to play here and be here for a long time.”

Gennett was released at the end of spring training by the Milwaukee Brewers and quick signed by the Reds. All he has done so far is hit .308 with a career-best 16 home runs and 54 RBI in only 234 at bats. That’s 100 less at bats than Joey Votto and 120 less than Adam Duvall.

His numbers and his off-the-field contributions nearly forced manager Bryan Price to bench 22-year-old prospect Jose Peraza and put Gennett into the regular lineup.

About being a fan favorite, Gennett said, “Fans appreciate effort, they appreciate guys who play the game the right way. A lot of us on this team do that. And that’s why fans show up even though things might not be great right now.

“What brings fans in is guys playing the game the right way and respect the game,” he added. “True baseball fans really like that.”

GENNETT LIKES THE SOUND of ‘Every Day Gennett,’ something he never heard before, not even when he played in Milwaukee.

“It is nice knowing you will be in there every day and something I never had the opporunity to do, even with the Brewers,” he said. “It’s a good time for me and my career and all the hard work I’ve put in. Now they feel I’ve earned the right to play every day, so I’m honored and fortunate to be blessed with the ability to put myself in this position. I’m happy, but I put in the hard work. And it continues and it is about getting better every day. And being in there every day makes it easier to fine-tune your game.”

JOEY VOTTO TURNED DOWN an invitation to appear in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. He didn’t want to wear himself out, didn’t want to risk changing his swing. He saw it happen with other players.

So he didn’t participate. And yet since the All-Star game his offensive production is at a much lower pace than he is accustomed to diplaying.

Heading into Saturday’s game with the Miami Marlins, Votto is 3 for 26 (.115) with seven walks and six strikeouts. And Votto has played every game this season, something he prefers to do. But does he need a day off?

“Joey and I keep an open line,” said Price. “One of these days you’ll walk into the clubhouse and see that he is not in the lineup. He prides himself on playing, but we have an open relationship as to when he needs a day.”

With the Reds playing 37 games in 38 days, Price indicated that a day off may come soon for Votto.

“When that time comes, I’ll initiate that but our line of communication right now indicates he will be in there regularly.”

THE OTHER MAN witho ‘Struggle’ as his middle name these days is Scott Schebler. He is 0 for 12 and 1 for 23.

And Price did give him Saturday off, replacing him with Patrick Kivlehan.

“It is just a day for Schebler,” said Price. “I’ve really struggled getting Kivlehan and Almendy Alcantara in there. I like the match-up (Miami pitcher Chris O’Grady) to give Kivlehan a start.”

 

 

Dragons lose, but Siri extends hitting streak to 27 games

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 12:22 AM


            Dragons outfielder Jose Siri extended his hitting streak to 27 games Friday. He’s eight away from tying the Midwest League record set in 1977. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Dragons outfielder Jose Siri extended his hitting streak to 27 games Friday. He’s eight away from tying the Midwest League record set in 1977. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

The Dayton Dragons managed four hits Friday night at Fifth Third Field in an 8-1 loss to Peoria, but Jose Siri had one of them, extending his team-record hitting streak to 27 games.

Siri swatted the first pitch he saw leading off the first inning for a double and now owns what is believed to be the fifth-longest hitting streak in Midwest League history, longest since 2000 when Garvin Wright of Michigan hit safely in 29 straight.

The league record is 35, set in 1977 by Waterloo’s Tony Toups, who played three seasons in the Indians farm system and never made the majors.

Siri’s is the longest current streak in the minor leagues. That record is 69 games by Joe Wilhoit of the Western League in 1919.

An outfielder from the Dominican Republic, Siri is hitting .342 with 15 home runs since May 21 with a slugging percentage of .658, third in the minors over that span.

After a rain delay of just over an hour, Peoria scored twice in the first and once in the second before adding three in the fifth for a 6-0 lead, eventually denying the Dragons their first series sweep since they took four in a row from Fort Wayne from June 30 to July 3.

Dayton scored in the fifth when Siri reached on an error and came home on a two-out error in the outfield on a ball hit by Taylor Trammell.

Trammell is another hot-hitting Dragon. A first-inning single gave him a hit in 20 of his last 21 games.

The outfielder is second in the MWL with 101 hits while leading the league in stolen bases (28). The Georgia native also ranks in the top five in the MWL in RBIs (54), runs (55), triples (9) and total bases (161).

Dragons tales

• After a slow start following his promotion from Billings on June 22, Mark Collymore has settled in. Over his last six games, he is hitting .375 with a home run to raise his average from .189 to .245. Gabrille Ovalle has also rallied, going from .071 to .208. Shane Mardirosian is still looking for a groove, hitting .196.

• It was a tough Fifth Third Field debut for pitcher Alex Webb on Friday. Starting in place of ace Scott Moss, who went on the disabled list July 18 with an undisclosed injury, he lasted three innings, allowing three runs on five hits, striking out two and walking three. Peoria hit back-to-back two-out home runs in the first off Webb. He allowed his third run on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Moss leads the MWL in wins (10) and strikeouts (119).

• Dayton’s 6-5 win over Peoria in 13-innings Thursday night snapped an eight-game losing streak in extra-inning games. The Dragons had won five of their first six extra-inning games before the slide.

• Dayton steps out of Eastern Division play when it welcomes Burlington tonight at 7 to open a three-game set. Burlington enters 12-15 in the second half and three games out of a playoff spot in the Western Division.

Misery continues for Reds, who fall to Marlins

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 11:55 PM

Marlins 3, Reds 1: Seven highlights

A high-performance ATV with a triple-barrel souvenir launcher on the back has turned in the best performance night after night at Great American Ball Park since the All-Star break. By itself, Redzilla is worth the price of admission — especially for fans who catch the T-shirts or soft baseballs it fires high into the stands.

Redzilla distracts fans for only a few minutes during a game. Cincinnati Reds fans have to watch the real show the rest of the night, and it hasn’t been pretty this week.

ROTATION NEWS: Stephenson gets another chance

The Miami Marlins had a 2-0 lead four batters into the game Friday. That was all they needed to beat the Reds 3-1 at Great American Ball Park. The game started a

“We weren’t able to do much,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We hit a few balls hard, but they didn’t go anywhere.”

Big picture: The Reds (40-56) fell a season-high 16 games under .500. They have lost seven of eight games on this homestand. They have the third-worst record in the National League.

Big play: Giancarlo Stanton scored from third on a wild pitch in the first inning as the Marlins took a 2-0 lead. That turned out to be the winning run.

NOTES: Gennett getting more playing time

Key stat: The Reds collected only four hits. It was the fifth time this season they’ve recorded four or fewer hits.

Missed chances: The Reds left the bases loaded in the fourth, and they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and failed to score.

The Reds offense continues to slump. This was the fifth time in the eight games since the All-Star break, they have scored two runs or fewer.

“We talk a lot about just staying with the process,” Price said. “You can’t force the result. You can’t say, ‘Today’s the day I get four hits and break out of this.’ If you’re chasing hits, you end up chasing borderline pitches or pitches in the zone or pitches you don’t particularly like to hit, especially early in the count.”

Reds against the Marlins on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Better performance: Reds starter Homer Bailey allowed two earned runs on eight hits in six innings. In his previous start, he allowed eight earned runs on eight hits in four innings. He lowered his ERA from 10.13 to 8.56.

The game started one hour and 45 minutes late because of rain.

“With the delay and everything, I thought we did a really good job,” Bailey said. “Sometimes you just get beat. That’s the way it goes. ... I think it’s going to be an up-and-down battle this year. There’s not really much I can do about it. You just try to  keep taking the ball and compete with what you have that day. Today you could tell the fastball had more life as opposed to a few other games this year.”

Defensive gem: Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton threw out Marcell Ozuna at home for the second out of the sixth inning. Ozuna tried to score from second on a single by J.T. Realmuto. Hamilton recorded his eight assist, tying Adam Duvall and Melky Cabrera for most outfield assists in baseball.

Key miscue: Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett threw the ball past shortstop Zack Cozart into left field while trying to turn a double play in the seventh inning. The error allowed the Marlins to extend their lead to 3-1. Christian Yelich drove in Miguel Rojas with a single two batters later.

On the board: The Reds trailed 2-0 when Billy Hamilton drove in Scott Schebler with a sacrifice fly in the third.

Old faithful: Marlins starter Jose Urena started every inning by spraying a mouthful of water high into the air on the mound. Urena (8-4, 3.78) allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings.

Looking ahead: Robert Stephenson (0-2, 8.03 ERA) returns from Triple-A to start for the Reds at 7:10 p.m. Saturday. The Marlins counter with Chris O’Grady (1-1, 5.23).