Bobby Jenks is essentially back as Ozzie Guillen’s closer, but he didn’t get there without a body count. J.J. Putz re-injured his right knee last night against the Orioles and Matt Thornton hasn’t appeared in a game since last Tuesday’s due to soreness in his forearm. After last night’s 7-5 win, Guillen told the Chicago Sun-Times that both pitchers were going to be placed on the disabled list.
”Well, Thornton is down, Putz is down, we’ve got to add two guys,”
Guillen said. ”I need some guys that can go out there. I’m not saying
we’re in trouble, but everyone in the bullpen has to pick it up a notch
for at least the next seven days because we won’t have Thornton. We have
to step it up a notch. We’ll figure it out.”
Putz underwent an MRI on Monday which revealed no structural damage in the knee, however last night was the second time in his last three appearances that he was forced to leave a game due to injury. The 33-year-old right-hander has allowed seven runs — six earned — over his last 5 2/3 innings (9.53 ERA) after giving up just eight runs over his first 41 1/3 innings this season, so it’s clear something just isn’t right with him.
As for Thornton, he also underwent an MRI on Monday which showed no structural damage in his forearm and elbow area, however he did have some receive an injection to dry up fluid in the affected area. According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, Thornton said before last night’s game that he likely wouldn’t be available to pitch until next week’s series against the Indians, so there’s no use in wasting a roster spot any longer.
It comes at a tough time for the White Sox, who enter play Wednesday 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Twins in the American League Central. Their depleted bullpen will surely be tested during a three-game series against the Yankees this weekend.
The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.
It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.
Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).”
Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.
Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.