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Reds’ starting pitching affected by injuries

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:50 PM


            Tyler Mahle of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium late last season. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Tyler Mahle of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium late last season. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

It looks like the answers to the Reds’ starting pitching was going to be discovered by attrition. Injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan complicated the matter. News in camp Tuesday had the same effect, as another candidate will be sidelined at least a few days.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say it’d be nice to have a starting rotation in tact of guys we anticipated being there,” Bryan Price said. “But we’ve been in this position before. We’ll deal with it and hit the ground running with what we have. What we do have is good though. I like the young guys we have in the rotation.”

• Tyler Mahle was closer to winning a coveted starting job in the rotation, when he took the mound against the San Diego Padres in a 3-3 10-inning tie.

News that Michael Lorenzen would be out of action several days with a grade one strain to his arm hadn’t stopped echoing around training camp when he threw his first pitch against the Padres. Mahle has in all probability earned the job outright, anyway.

The rookie pitched five scoreless innings of two-hit baseball in his last time out. Coming into the start against San Diego, Mahle has appeared in five games prior to the Padres, pitching 14.2 innings. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks, in those games.

Mahle had a rough first inning. He walked Manuel Margot on a close 3-2 pitch. He appeared to pick off Margot but was called for a balk. It ignited a two-run inning.

“He just missed a borderline 3-2 pitch, then hit a batter with a 1-2 slider,” Bryan Price said. “He got better with his fastball command. He was missing with the slider in the first inning off the corner. He was bringing it back over the plate. He got better with it and that was great. You’ve got to be pushed a little bit and he responded with four beautiful innings.”

It wasn’t so much the results but the progress Mahle made with his changeup and slider, two pitches the Reds’ asked him to improve.

Mahle pitched four scoreless innings after the first. He allowed one hit over the last four frames. He struck out six.

• The bench is another area of the team that Reds’ leadership would like to improve. Cliff Pennington, who is a viable option at shortstop, is one of the multi-positional players that are competing for jobs as spare parts.

Brandon Dixon, Alex Blandino, Rosell Herrera and Phil Gosselin are the others. Ben Revere and Phillip Ervin remain as possible fifth outfielders. Sebastian Elizalde makes a case as a good left-handed bat off the bench. All have played good defense and all but Pennington and Revere have found their hitting stroke.

“What really speaks better compared to where we’ve been in the past, is we’re having some real challenges to find our best bench,” Price said. “There are some really good players here. All of them can help us. That’s going to mean that we should feel comfortable with the bench during the regular season and feel like we have some depth at Triple A.”

Gosselin is an intriguing choice.

The 29-year old played in 256 big league games with Atlanta, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Texas. He is a .270 career hitter and .306 this spring. He has 132 pinch-hit appearances with a .244 batting average and one home run. Gosselin has played all four infield positions, mostly second base, left field and right field.

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New Bengals linebacker gets his old jersey number at surprising cost

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:18 PM


            ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

When Preston Brown walked through the Bengals locker room for the first time after signing a one-year, $5 million contract, he noticed his number — 52 — already was assigned to Brandon Bell.

“I’ll have a talk with him and see what we can work out,” Brown said.

But that conversation never happened.

›› Bengals RB Mixon hoping Baker Mayfield doesn’t end up in Cleveland

“When I showed up last week (for the start of voluntary offseason workouts), I already had it,” Brown said.

Bell was just as surprised was Brown, but he said he understood.

“It’s a veteran thing,” Bell said. “I get it. They say we’re still rookies. I don’t mind it too much. It is what it is.”

›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft

Bell wore 11 in college so he didn’t have an attachment to 52. This year he will wear 51, which belonged to Kevin Minter last year.

Even though Bell didn’t have a say in the swap, Brown said he still plans to thank him.

“I’m going to have to take him out to dinner or something,” Brown said.

›› Bengals 2018 schedule features a number of franchise firsts

“I’ll take him up on that offer,” Bell said. “A nice steak would be great.”

Cordy Glenn, whom the Bengals obtained in a trade with Buffalo last month, also will wear the same No. 77 he wore with the Bills. That number, worn by Andrew Whitworth from 2008-2016, was not assigned to anyone last year.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use parrot to deliver 4th-round pick in NFL draft

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:12 PM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use a parrot to deliver its fourth-round draft pick Saturday.
Keith Tsuji/Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use a parrot to deliver its fourth-round draft pick Saturday.(Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be winging it during the latter stages of the NFL draft.

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The NFL announced Monday that the Bucs will have a parrot deliver its fourth-round selection from the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium to an announcer during Saturday’s televised Day 3 draft show.

The parrot, a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa, is based at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Hudson, Florida.

The bird is not the first animal to participate in an NFL draft. Last year, an orangutan aided in the Colts announcing their fourth-round selection of offensive lineman Zach Banner, the NFL reported on its website. 

Reaction on the Buccaneers’ upcoming pick ranged from humor to squawks of surprise. One website, JoeBucsFan, posted a video of The Three Stooges’ 1936 comedy short, “Disorder in the Court,” where a parrot is figured prominently in the climactic court scene.

Undoubtedly, some fans will post the iconic parrot sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

Regardless, the Bucs will be giving the NFL the bird on Saturday.

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Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for 'joke' prom date gun photo 

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:05 AM

Former NFL Kicker Jay Feely Apologizes For Posing With Gun In Prom Photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely said he was trying to be funny when he posed in a Twitter photo standing between his daughter and her prom date holding a pistol, but in the wake of the Parkland shootings in February, social media posters did not appreciate the joke, WFLA reported.

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Feely, who played in the NFL from 2001 to 2014 and is an analyst for CBS Sports, apologized Sunday. 

In the photo, Feely has his left arm around his daughter and a pistol in his right hand at his side. Next to Feely is his daughter’s prom date, who is smirking. 

"Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom," Feely wrote, using the hashtag "#BadBoys."

The reaction from some on social media was swift and critical.

“Oh yay -- American dads have kicked off the season of 'let’s pretend I’m going to shoot my daughter’s date for impugning her chastity' pics," tweeted Shannon Watts, who is the founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action.

“The Stoneman Douglas shooting was 2 months ago,” author Geraldine DeRuiter posted on Twitter. “But sure, let's make jokes about murdering high schoolers.”

The backlash was vocal enough for Feely to issue an apology Sunday on Twitter.

“The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking," he wrote. "I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue."

Some Twitter users defended Feely’s post, noting that he was referencing the movie “Bad Boys 2.”

“He’s referencing a scene in the movie #BadBoys2,” Twitter user Mike McLeod wrote. “The kid knows it’s a joke -- it’s not pointed at anyone and barely in the picture. I’m sure there’s a picture with his daughter and just the date also. This isn’t anything to blow out of proportion.

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Bengals RB Mixon hoping Browns don’t take Baker Mayfield

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 1:25 PM


            PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates after Steven Parker #10 of the Oklahoma Sooners scores a 46 yard touchdown because of a fumble by Sony Michel #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates after Steven Parker #10 of the Oklahoma Sooners scores a 46 yard touchdown because of a fumble by Sony Michel #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon said he does have any insight as to where his former Oklahoma teammate, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, will get drafted this week.

But there’s one place Mixon is rooting against.

“Hell no I don’t want to play Baker twice,” he said when asked if he hopes Cleveland takes Mayfield.

›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft

“I want him on my team,” Mixon added. ” I mean, I know it’s not going to work like that, but at the end of the day, wherever he goes I just hope we ain’t playing him. That’s just what I’ve seen in the past. I know it’s a different level, but I’m sure wherever he ends up he’ll make an impact right away and I’m sure he’ll be that ‘it’ factor that team is looking for.”

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