Spring Training: Reds being cautious with Mesoraco’s workload

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:23 PM


            Cincinnati Reds’ Devin Mesoraco hits during a spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco started Monday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

The Reds have been cautious with Mesoraco’s workload after three surgeries in two years have limited the Reds’ 2007 first-round pick to 39 games and 95 at bats the last two seasons.

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Mesoraco’s first spring appearance came on March 12 when he caught two innings. He caught three innings Saturday and had a double for his first hit of the spring. Mesoraco caught four innings Monday and had a single in two at-bats.

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“We’re going to be pretty deliberate with his rehab,” Price said. “It’s not a matter of saying he has to be ready for Opening Day at all costs. We aren’t going that way. We’re going to let this happens as it happens to see how he responds to an increased workload. He is going to be every other game. There is no way to increase the innings workload by going back-to-back. My goal is to get his individual game workload stretched out.”

›› RELATED: 5 things to know about Reds spring training win against Padres

The Reds have a backup plan to serve as a backup to starting catcher Tucker Barnhart. Stuart Turner, a Rule V draft pick, who has to stay on the Reds active roster or be offered back to Minnesota. Rob Brantly, who was signed to a minor league contract, has Major League experience with the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox.

“Brantly and Turner have been outstanding,” Price said. “ … I’d be comfortable with either one of them making the ballclub.”

Alter grad Simmons gets OK from OU for NBA draft

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 5:01 PM


            Ohio’s Jaaron Simmons shoots over Bowling Green and Wayne grad Rodrick Caldwell in a February game at the Convocation Center in Athens. David Jablonski/Staff

Jaaron Simmons is hoping to fulfill a recurring dream after the Ohio University redshirt junior declared for the upcoming NBA draft earlier this week.

Alter High School’s leading all-time scorer, Simmons announced his intention through the university’s athletic website. He followed up on Twitter and Instagram about his ultimate desire to play at the highest level: “I been having the same dream since the day I was born.”

He told OU officials he did not intend to hire an agent. Like many top collegiate players who aren’t certain lottery picks, Simmons intends to participate in the NBA Draft Combine May 9-14 at Chicago. For invites only, that consists of a series of physical and aptitude tests that NBA teams use to determine a player’s draft status.

Combine participants are eligible to return to their collegiate programs if they opt out of the NBA draft by May 24. The NBA draft will be held June 24 at a location to be determined. Simmons was unavailable for comment.

A 6-foot-1, 184-pound play-making guard, Simmons has been outstanding for the Bobcats the last two seasons after transferring from Houston, where he played as a freshman. He averaged 15.9 points and 6.5 assists for Ohio (20-11 overall, 11-7 Mid-American Conference) this season.

Simmons upped that scoring average to 17.2 in MAC play and 20.3 after taking over the role of OU point guard Antonio Campbell, who was lost for the remainder of the season with injury for OU’s final 16 games.

Simmons tallied a season-high 38 points against MAC champion Akron and was named first team all-conference.

Simmons surpassed 1,000 career points this season and was eighth in the nation among NCAA Division I players in assists. The previous season he was third in the nation in assists. He also set the all-time MAC single-season assists record in 2015-16, his first with the Bobcats.

“Jaaron’s decision is a smart one in today’s world of basketball,” OU coach Saul Phillips said in a release. “Having a clear idea of where you stand in terms of the draft is a good idea. We are extremely supportive of Jaaron’s decision to declare for the draft.”

Simmons led surprising Alter to the Division II state final four as a senior in 2013, Joe Petrocelli’s last after coaching the Knights for 50 years. Initially courted by Dayton and Wright State, Simmons instead signed with Houston over Western Michigan and Wichita State and others.

A back-up guard at Houston, he played in every game as a freshman and appeared destined to be a Cougars standout. That changed when James Dickey was fired as coach and Simmons pursued a transfer to OU.

JAARON SIMMONS

College: Ohio, Houston.

High school: 2013 Alter grad.

Personal: 6-1, G, redshirt senior.

This season: 15.9 points, 6.5 assists.

Notable: Single-season MAC leader in assists, 275.

Devon Still announces milestone for Leah

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 6:18 PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15: Honoree Devon Still (R) accepts the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance from NBA player LeBron James onstage during The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still is still a free agent looking for somewhere to play in 2017, but he’s been all smiles this week after announcing daughter Leah Still just celebrated her two-year anniversary of being cancer free.

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Still announced the milestone on Instagram on Saturday, writing “I want to wish a Happy 2nd Birthday to my daughter, Leah. Today marks 2 years in remission! From the moment we took this picture in the hospital, right before doctors walked in the room and said she had cancer, we had an extremely tough fight. But no matter how hard it got we never gave up. So today, we celebrate your strength and perseverance Leah! I love you more than you could ever possibly know.”

Leah was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in June 2014. A short time later Still went public with the news an appeared on every television and radio show that requested an interview, turning Leah’s battle into a national story.

A second-round pick out of Penn State in 2012, Still played three seasons with the Bengals before being waived. He sat out the 2015 season before signing a contract with the Houston Texans in Jan. 2016.

Still appeared in three games for the Texans in 2016 before suffering a lisfranc foot sprain that ended his season.

Recruitment heats up for Trotwood’s Patton

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 7:06 PM

Trotwood-Madison senior Torrey Patton set a D-II state semifinal record by scoring 34 points in a 62-60 loss to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a boys high school basketball Division II state semifinal game at OSU’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Thursday, March 23, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

A disappointing loss in his final high school basketball game might have led to the next best thing for Trotwood-Madison senior Torrey Patton: A NCAA Division I scholarship offer.

Trotwood was upset by Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 62-60 in last Thursday’s Division II state semifinals at Columbus. Irish coach Dru Joyce was just as rattled upon hearing Patton had generated sparse recruiting interest.

REPEAT? Trotwood appears to have enough returning for another state shot

That all changed this week when Keith Dambrot resigned as the University of Akron’s men’s basketball coach to accept a similar position at Duquesne in the Atlantic-10. Patton was among at least six seniors and underclassmen Dambrot made offers to in his first hours after accepting the Duquesne position.

REMATCH: Trotwood vs. Akron SVSM

It’s not a stretch to imagine Joyce sold Dambrot on Patton. Joyce was an assistant to Dambrot and succeeded him as the Akron SVSM head coach in time for LeBron James’ junior season. Besides, Patton scored 34 points in Trotwood’s loss and was essentially unguardable.

“I think that’s probably what happened,” Patton said. “(Joyce) probably reached out to him and told him about me. He sure watched me.”

NBA NEXT? Alter grad and OU redshirt senior Simmons declares for draft

Dambrot initially made an offer this week to Patton when he was still Akron’s coach and quickly did the same after switching to Duquesne. Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold said Appalachian State, Northern Kentucky and Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne also have inquired about Patton in the last 48 hours.

A talented 6-foot-4 guard, Patton was the D-II All-Ohio co-player of the year along with many other accolades after leading the Rams to a 26-3 season. He averaged a team-best 20.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

In the state semis against Akron SVSM he also had three 3-pointers to go with 11 rebounds, two steals and two assists. Akron SVSM won state but lost 100-61 to Trotwood in the regular season.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: High-scoring Rams also can lock down

“You play as well as he played on a big stage when there’s a lot of college coaches there and it gives you an opportunity to showcase a little bit,” Rockhold said. “With a skill-set like Torrey has, this is what I thought we’d be dealing with going into the season, to be honest. Maybe it was a blessing there were no distractions for him and he could go out and play the way he played on the biggest stage.”

Patton said he’ll visit both Duquesne and Akron and possibly other programs. He plans on signing during the regular signing period, which starts April 12. NCAA coaches are not permitted to contact recruits or make offers during the final four “dead” period, which starts today and ends April 6.

Patton played in the District 15 all-star game at Springboro last weekend.

“My recruitment has jumped,” he said. “It was a relief to finally get me one.

FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

TORREY PATTON

High school: Trotwood-Madison.

Personal: 6-4, G, senior.

This season: 20.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists.

Notable: Led Rams to 26-3 season; D-II All-Ohio co-player of year.

Top returning GCL Co-Ed North softball hitters

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:04 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 9:08 PM


            Badin and Fenwick are GCL Co-Ed crossover rivals. STAFF

The top returning Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division high school softball hitters, according to 2016 conference stats:

1. Carly Fugett, so., CJ: 37 of 70 (.529); 27 runs, 25 RBI’s.

2. Caroline Nevius, sr., CJ: 30 of 72 (.417); 31 runs, 6 RBI’s.

3. Maria Mosconi, sr., Alter: 25 of 64 (.391); 22 runs, 17 RBI’s, 8 SB.

4. Khristina Dare, sr., Carroll: 23 of 59 (.390); 9 runs, 11 RBI’s, 2 SB.

5. Anamarie Black, sr., Alter: 23 of 64 (.359); 11 runs, 22 RBI’s.

6. Natalie Northern, jr., CJ: 22 of 62 (.355); 14 runs, 23 RBI’s.

7. Claudia Miller, so., Fenwick: 16 of 48 (.333); 3 runs, 12 RBI’s, 2 SB.

8. Rosie Wildermuth, so., Alter: 18 of 55 (.327); 14 runs, 5 RBI’s, 3 SB.

9. Emily Willits, sr., Alter: 19 of 59 (.322); 24 runs, 18 RBI’s, 10 SB.

10. Marina Stevens, jr., Carroll: 20 of 65 (.308); 21 runs, 8 RBI’s, 11 SB.