breaking news


Veteran Andrew Whitworth leaving Bengals for Rams

Published: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 9:59 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 3:16 PM


            Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth watches from the sidelines during a break on the first day of mandatory mini camp Tuesday, June 14 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth watches from the sidelines during a break on the first day of mandatory mini camp Tuesday, June 14 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is leaving the Bengals.

ESPN’s Adam Schefer reports Whitworth has the “framework” of a deal in place to join the Los Angeles Rams. Whitworth has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Bengals.

The new NFL season —when teams can make official free-agent signings — begins today at 4 p.m.

Gene Bennett: The scout of all scouts

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 10:21 AM

If ever there was a bad word uttered about Gene Bennett, I have never heard of the person who said it.

Bennett was not only an icon as a baseball scout, he was even more of an icon as a person.

Some of the best times of my baseball life were when Gene Bennett called me, which was often during the winter, and we talked baseball for an hour-and-a-half.

It seemed like five minutes because time stood still during those wonderful conversations.

My phone won’t ring this winter with the greeting, “How is my favorite baseball writer?” Gene Bennett, 89, died Wednesday in Portsmouth, where he was THE legend among legends.

I first met Bennett when he was a basketball official and worked games at the old University of Dayton Fieldhouse when Tom Blackburn was coach and later for Don Donoher during the embryonic period of UD Arena. He would stop by the press table during timeouts and talk baseball.

One of the best compliments I ever received came from Bennett. We talked often during his 60 years as a scout for the Reds and a member of the front office.

He would say, “I can tell you anything off the record and know it won’t appear in the paper. I can trust you.” And he told me many, many things that would make a great story but might get him in trouble if I wrote it. I never did.

Among many, many good players he signed for the Reds was Don Gullett, Barry Larkin, Paul O’Neill, Chris Sabo and Charlie Leibrandt.

He signed Gullett after watching a high school game during which Gullett struck out 20 of 21 batters in a seven-inning game. The other guy? He tried to bunt and Gullett threw him out for a perfect game.

He convinced the Reds to draft Barry Larkin when most of the front office people wanted to draft somebody else.

But the one that got away was one that hurt him most. Bennett was at a tryout camp in Michigan when he saw a kid playing shortstop, wearing a Reds cap.

He told the kid, “We already have a great shortstop, name of Barry Larkin.” The kid looked at him and said, “I can play anywhere, Mr. Bennett. I can play center field.” And he went out and played center field at the tryout like Eric Davis.

The kid’s name was Derek Jeter and Bennett pleaded with the Reds to draft him. They didn’t. They drafted a big, strong kid named Chad Mottola and one of the scouts said, “This kid can whip a bear with a switch.”

But he couldn’t hit a baseball with a bat and everybody knows what happened with Derek Jeter.

Bennett lived in Wheelersburg, Ohio, not far from Portsmouth and there is a baseball complex in Wheelersburg named after him.

Every year Bennett was the driving force behind a baseball banquet in Portsmouth, an event to raise money for the upkeep of the famous murals on the Ohio River flood wall in Portsmouth. In fact, Bennett’s likeness is on that wall.

Nearly 300 people show up every year for the dinner, including a plethora of baseball personalities like Don Gullett, Tom Browning, Al Oliver, Larry Hisle, Gene Tenace, Johnny Lemaster, umpire Greg Gipson, Ron Nischwitz and always a large contingent from the Reds front office.

They introduce all the celebrities and Bennett was always the last introduced and he received a standing ovation, every time. Nobody else did.

I was fortunate to have Bennett ask me to be the keynote speaker a few years ago. Afterwards, Bennett said, “You should put away that pen and pad and become a speaker.” That was Gene Bennett. It could have been the worst speech ever given, and it might have been, but he would find something nice to say.

The last time I saw Gene was at a Reds game early this summer. He was in a wheel chair, but he was in his element and his face glowed. The folks with him called me aside and said, “He doesn’t have much time.” I went back to my press box seat and cried.

If there is a heaven, there is more entertaining baseball talk going on than ever before and it will be Gene Bennett holding court, wearing a Cincinnati Reds cap.

 

 

Reds score big in 13-10 win over Cubs

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin, front, is doused with an ice bath by pitcher Sal Romano, left, after their 13-10 win in a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Chicago. Ervin hit a two-run homer to snap a tie in the seventh inning and had four RBIs in his first major league start.
AP Photo/David Banks
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin, front, is doused with an ice bath by pitcher Sal Romano, left, after their 13-10 win in a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Chicago. Ervin hit a two-run homer to snap a tie in the seventh inning and had four RBIs in his first major league start.(AP Photo/David Banks)

The Reds’ 13-10 win over the Cubs on Thursday had no shortage of fireworks.

  • Cincinnati scored nine runs in an inning for the first time since tagging Detroit for 10 runs in the sixth inning of a 12-5 win on Aug. 24, 2015.
  • The Reds blew a nine-run lead. The team last did that on Aug. 25, 2010, at San Francisco; a game it also rallied to win, 12-11. Cincinnati also blew such a lead on April 28, 2004, losing to Milwaukee 10-9.
  • Outfielder Phillip Ervin fell a triple shy of the cycle in his first ever start (fifth career game). He’s homered in back-to-back days.
  • Ervin and Eugenio Suarez were the first Reds teammates to record two hits in an inning since Steve Selsky and Tucker Barnhard did so last Sept. 26 in St. Louis.
  • Cincinnati gave up six homers, tying a season high (June 29 against Milwaukee). It’s served up 205 long balls on the year.
  • The Reds’ team ERA is 5.30, worst in the majors by a large margin (Braves are second-worst at 4.77).
  • Starter Scott Feldman gave up four home runs in an inning, tying a team record for most in a frame. He saw five balls leave the yard total, also tying a team-high mark.

VIDEO: Reds’ Phillip Ervin does it all in 13-10 win over Cubs

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 8:00 AM

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin, front, is doused with an ice bath by pitcher Sal Romano, left, after their 13-10 win in a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Chicago. Ervin hit a two-run homer to snap a tie in the seventh inning and had four RBIs in his first major league start.
AP Photo/David Banks
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin, front, is doused with an ice bath by pitcher Sal Romano, left, after their 13-10 win in a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Chicago. Ervin hit a two-run homer to snap a tie in the seventh inning and had four RBIs in his first major league start.(AP Photo/David Banks)

After homering for his first career hit Wednesday, Phillip Ervin’s encore was even better.

Ervin hit a two-run, tie-breaking home run and added four RBIs in his first start, emerging as the difference in the Reds’ 13-10 shootout victory against the Cubs.

It was the 25-year-old’s fifth game. He also had a single and double in his four at-bats. He even stole a base. 



Dragons continue to have West Michigan’s number

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 10:33 PM


            Jose Siri of the Dayton Dragons steals second in the eighth inning against the West Michigan Whitecaps on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. BRIAN SWARTZ / CONTRIBUTED
Jose Siri of the Dayton Dragons steals second in the eighth inning against the West Michigan Whitecaps on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. BRIAN SWARTZ / CONTRIBUTED

West Michigan may have the Midwest League’s best record, but you couldn’t blame the Whitecaps if a little doubt started to set in.

Dayton pitchers Scott Moss and Tony Santillan would be the reason, because it’s likely they’ll face the Whitecaps in the first two games of the MWL playoffs, which begin at Fifth Third Field on Sept. 6.

Santillan (7-7, 3.56 ERA) worked five innings, allowed one run, struck out nine, walked three and allowed four hits in the Dragons’ 3-1 home win Thursday.

Together, Santillan and Moss combined to allow one run while striking out 14 in 10 innings during the final two games of the series. The Whitecaps lost back-to-back to the same opponent for the first time since mid-April.

Santillan’s biggest test came in the fifth, when he allowed consecutive singles to start the inning. With runners on first and second, and no outs, Santillan rebounded by striking out the side.

“That’s huge for him to come out of a tough situation and he can keep his composure out there and his emotions under control,” manager Luis Bolivar said. “He did it great, he came out of that inning and it was huge.”

Game changer: Lady Luck helped Dayton in the second when DH John Sansone hit a one-out grounder up the middle that pitcher Anthony Castro got a glove on. The change in trajectory forced second baseman Chad Sedio to hurry his throw to Danny Pinero, who couldn’t pick the ball out of the dirt.

Hector Vargas doubled into the right-field corner to bring Sansone around. Carlos Rivero then singled, moving Vargas to third. Next, Randy Ventura’s high chopper to third lingered in the air so long, the third baseman was left with no time to make a play, scoring Vargas and giving the Dragons a 2-0 lead.

Dragons tales: It’s been a historic season for the Dragons with the club earning its first postseason berth since 2011 and Jose Siri breaking the Midwest League record for consecutive games with a hit.

Left fielder Taylor Trammell recently joined the fun when he became the sixth player in Dragons history to hit 10 homers and steal 20 bases in a season. Siri accomplished the feat earlier this season, and Bolivar achieved the milestone as a player in 2004.

Trammell entered Thursday tied for second in the MWL in RBIs (66) and stolen bases (33), third in hits (124), fifth in total bases (196), and eighth is batting average (.285).

The first-round competitive balance pick of the Reds in 2016 is living up to his draft status.

Trammell’s always working on his game, because if you’ve got nothing to work on, you won’t get better, he said. Two skills he’s seen improve this season include his aggressiveness at the plate and his defense.

“I worked with the rovers that came here, Eric Davis and Barry Larkin and a few other guys and my hitting coach, Daryle Ward,” he said. “And also, being out in the outfield, learning reads off the bat from left field. That’s tough … just reads off the bat, because guys are hitting the ball harder this year, a little faster, you’ve got to prepare … and make the right jumps.”

On deck: Andrew Jordan (5-7, 4.60) starts for the Dragons in the first of a four-game series at Lake County. Zach Plesac (0-0, 1.13) takes the mound for the Captains.