Cincinnati Reds Photo Day

Jonny Gomes “reached out” to Cardinals following reported celebration of Adam Wainwright injury

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Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News unknowingly created a controversy yesterday when he wrote about overhearing Jonny Gomes in the Reds’ clubhouse celebrating news of Adam Wainwright’s elbow injury by singing.

By last night McCoy had deleted the original excerpt while posting a follow-up article explaining his version of what happened and several other writers covering the Reds offered their own versions of the situation, all of which served to blur what actually took place.

Gomes then spent much of today making the media rounds to explain his side of the story and, as reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, “reached out” to Cardinals players in an effort to clear the air. Here’s some of what Gomes told Crasnick:

[Wainwright] is a good old Christian boy. He’s the guy that you root for as a fan and as a player. He did all his work in the minor leagues, grabbed the ball as a closer and converted to a starter. He’s the guy every kid should mirror. The hardest part was facing my friends and family. They’re questioning me like, “What’s wrong with you? You’re not that type of person.” I walked through the door and my wife questioned me right out of the gate. She was like, “What’s your deal already?”

The hardest part of my night was, “How do I clean this up without backtracking, because I didn’t do anything wrong.” I was just accused of doing something I never did. I’m not like, “I shouldn’t have said that,” or, “I wish I would have said that behind closed doors.” I didn’t do anything wrong. Flat out.

Despite taking down the initial article containing his version of the events McCoy has not actually backed down from saying he heard Gomes singing in a celebratory manner, writing:

He denies he was singing about Wainwright and said he was singing something else. I’m not the only one who heard “Wainwright” in his song, but I won’t throw anybody else under the bus. Maybe my 70-year-old ears are hearing things, but at the time I didn’t know about Wainwright and wondered to what Gomes was referring. I heard about Wainwright’s injury a few minutes later in manager Dusty Baker’s office.

Under these circumstances his “I won’t throw anybody else under the bus” comment is seemingly aimed at other media members who didn’t write anything about the incident and, once it became a big story, denied hearing Gomes sing about Wainwright. Whatever the case, McCoy has made it very clear that he regrets quoting what he overheard in the clubhouse, telling Crasnick that he “just thought it was something humorous” and “a cute throwaway thing.” Here’s more from McCoy:

I didn’t think it would create this kind of furor. I love Jonny Gomes. He’s one of my favorite people, and I’m sorry he has to be dealing with this. I didn’t sleep last night.

Lost in all the hoopla surrounding Gomes, Wainwright, and the Cardinals-Reds rivalry is a pretty interesting journalistic quandary. Beat writers spend hours every week in a team’s clubhouse, where they no doubt overhear all kinds of stuff that would make for juicy articles and instead restrain themselves. However, my sense is that McCoy only quoted what he heard yesterday specifically because he didn’t think it would be a big deal. Had he thought Gomes’ behavior would have caused a big uproar or even just gotten the outfielder in a little hot water, it certainly seems like McCoy wouldn’t have written anything about it.

In other words, in many cases the juicer something said within the clubhouse doors the less likely it is to be quoted or written about directly. We’ll never know exactly what was said by Gomes in the Reds’ clubhouse yesterday, but we do know that the one guy who wrote about it did so only because he wrongly believed it wouldn’t get Gomes into trouble.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.