Wait for Nick Senzel’s debut continues in Cincinnati

Published: Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 1:06 PM


            Nick Senzel throws to first base during the Reds Futures Game at Fifth Third Field on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Nick Falzerano/Contributed
Nick Senzel throws to first base during the Reds Futures Game at Fifth Third Field on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Nick Falzerano/Contributed

Many Cincinnati Reds fans hoped to see the franchise’s top prospect, Nick Senzel, make his big-league debut this weekend because starting third baseman Eugenio Suarez is on the disabled list and Senzel can play third. That didn’t happen.

The Reds take a 2-12 record into the finale of a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday with Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, still with Triple-A Louisville. He’s hitting .231 in nine games with one home run, two doubles and one RBI.

“We’re an organization; we’re not one person,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “This is not a situation where one person gets to say, ‘This is what happens.’ This is a decision made by a lot of people for a lot of varying reasons, and that’s where I stand on it. I think he could help us, and there’s also the argument that the people who see him and know him better than I do need to feel he’s ready, and when that time comes, I would think we would see him here, especially with (Eugenio Suarez) out.”

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Senzel, 22, had four hits in the first two games, went hitless in the next four games and went 5-for-14 in the last three games. This is his first season in Triple-A. He split time last season between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Pensacola.

“He’s played some second base,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I think he’s gone over to play some third since Geno got hurt. He scuffled a little bit with the bat and has kind of been back on track the last day or two, so he’s been swinging it better lately. He plays with his hair on fire. He plays hard.”

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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“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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Five-run seventh inning carries Reds to fourth win

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.

» RELATED: Reds hope to ignite offense with lineup change

Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, who took the reins after the firing of Bryan Price and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.

“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendous start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”

Here’s a quick recap of the game:

Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.

It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.

Drought ends: With the Reds down 2-0, Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn’t hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.

» RELATED: Price says he will keep pulling for Reds

Schebler hopes this victory eases the pressure on the offense, which ranks last in baseball in runs scored.

“It’s one of those things where the whole season it felt like we never had momentum,” Schebler said. “We were great offensively last year, and I full expect us to be like that the rest of the year.”

Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they’ve led in the sixth.

Pinch hitter Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.

“We’ve been having a hard time, and I was really proud of the guys,” Riggleman said. “We were down again after losing a lot of ballgames. Then we got it going. (Schebler) had a big hit for us.”

Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall’s wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.

Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.

Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.

Quality start: Reds starter Sal Romano (1-2) allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings, lowering his ERA from 5.75 to 4.78. He struck out five and walked one.

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Former Flyers forward Williams picks new school

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 5:02 PM

Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams reacts after making the go-ahead 3-pointer against Rhode Island with 10 seconds left on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams reacts after making the go-ahead 3-pointer against Rhode Island with 10 seconds left on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Former Dayton Flyers forward Xeyrius Williams will play his final season of college basketball at the University of Akron.

The Wayne High School graduate Williams announced his decision Monday. He will have to sit out the 2018-19 season and will finish his career with the Zips in the 2019-20 season. In posts to Twitter and Instagram, Williams thanked the Dayton fans who watched him play the last three seasons.

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“You guys have been there through the ups and downs,” Williams wrote. “I also want to thank all the people, managers, coaches and especially my teammates/brothers who I had the opportunity to play alongside. You guys have all influenced my life in a positive way, and I’ll always cherish the brotherhood and the memories we made as a team.”

Williams also visited Kent State, according to his Instagram account.

Williams announced March 13 he was leaving Dayton. He was one of five underclassmen to leave the program. He appeared in 18 games last season, averaging 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds as the Flyers finished 14-17. He had a breakout year as a sophomore, averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.

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The season did not go as planned. Williams started the season in the starting lineup and played 34-plus minutes in each of the first four games, averaging 11.3 points. Then he missed the next five games with a back injury.

Akron was 14-18 last season, the first for head coach John Groce. That ended a streak of 12 straight 20-win seasons. Trotwood-Madison grad Torrey Patton played for Akron last season as a freshman but announced he was transferring earlier this month.

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Dayton adds third member to 2018 recruiting class

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:29 PM

Dayton huddles before a game against Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton huddles before a game against Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

The Dayton Flyers added to their 2018 recruiting class on Monday as Frank Policelli announced his verbal commitment.

Dayton offered Policelli a scholarship in January. He visited Dayton on April 15.  He’s a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island Lutheran High School (N.Y.).

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“I would like to thank everyone who helped me along this journey since I was a kid,” Policelli wrote on Twitter. “This process was very hard, and there were a lot of ups and downs, but the people closest to me helped me remain humble and focused through it all.”

Policelli joins Dwayne Cohill, a senior at Holy Name High School, and Jhery Matos, a sophomore at Monroe College, in the 2018 class. Dayton now has four scholarships open for the 2018-19 season.

Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech were among the other schools to offer Policelli scholarships. He’s a three-star recruit who ranks 262nd in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports.com.

Policelli is from New Hartford, N.Y., which is four hours from Long Island. He transferred to Long Island Lutheran for his senior year. He missed the second half of his junior season after undergoing knee surgery. He averaged 28.1 points and over 13 rebounds as a junior.

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Policelli played AAU basketball with the New York Jayhawks. Dayton freshman Obadiah Toppin also played for that team.

Policelli was one of three players from Long Island Lutheran Dayton is recruiting. In February, it offered scholarships to Tyson Etienne, a 6-foot-1 point guard in the class 2019, and to Andre Curbelo, a 6-0 point guard in the class of 2020.

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