Jocketty: Reds “not close” to extension with Brandon Phillips

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Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips told reporters back in late-September that he would not be offering a “homeboy hookup” to Cincinnati once it came time to discuss terms for a new contract.

And he certainly seems to be sticking to that.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com on Thursday that the two sides are “not close” to reaching an extension, meaning Phillips will likely enter the 2012 season as a free-agent-to-be.

Phillips, 30, is regarded as one of the top defensive second basemen in the major leagues and batted .300 with an .810 OPS, 18 home runs and 82 RBI in 674 plate appearances this year for the third-place Reds. He’s talented, durable and — with his beaming personality — capable of becoming a fan-favorite in any city.

Phillips will earn $12 million next season via a club option that was exercised at the end of October.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.