Will the Reds have room for Alonso and Votto?

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Yonder Alonso was the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft and has since emerged as Cincinnati’s best prospect by hitting .293/.378/.459 in the minors, but now that he’s nearing the majors the Reds are starting to wonder where they’ll eventually play him.
Alonso has been exclusively a first baseman in the minors, but the Reds already have 26-year-old Joey Votto there and he just hit .312 with 25 homers and a .981 OPS last season. They could move Votto to left field, where he saw some sporadic action in the minors, but his glove figures to be mediocre at best out there compared to very good at first base.
“Joey is going to be at first base for a long time,” general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. “I don’t see moving Joey.” Instead the Reds are toying with the idea of having Alonso switch positions, giving him reps in left field and right field in addition to third base and even catcher.
“I’m doing everything and they’re trying everything so I can go up there,” Alonso said. “It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I play.” He definitely has the right attitude, but probably doesn’t have the necessarily skills to make it a reality, as Baseball America‘s latest scouting report says Alonso’s “limited range would be a liability” away from first base.
It doesn’t make much sense for the Reds to move their best player away from a position he thrives at and so far at least Alonso’s production at the plate hasn’t stood out nearly enough to warrant making him a defensive liability at a new position in order to get his bat into the lineup. All of which seemingly adds up to a trade, but with Alonso likely ticketed for Double-A and Triple-A this year the Reds have a bit more time to sort things out.

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

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Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.