Bill Baer

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover throws in the ninth inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers

J.J. Hoover is no longer the Reds’ closer


Reds manager Bryan Price told right-hander J.J. Hoover he is no longer the Reds’ closer, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. For now, the Reds will utilize a closer-by-committee approach.

Hoover was hit around for 10 runs (nine earned) on eight hits and four walks with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings to begin the season. It’s a small sample size for sure, but the right-hander is striking out batters at a much lower rate than usual and is walking batters at what would be a career-high rate. Hoover has also thrown 83 fastballs and on average, his velocity this year is down more than 1 MPH.

Tony Cingrani and Blake Wood, who each struggled during Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Rockies, are likely to see some ninth-inning work.

Video: Randal Grichuk leaps to rob Anthony Rizzo of a home run

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo pauses after flying out to St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Randal Grichuk in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 20, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo thought he had a two-run home run in the top of the first inning against Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, but center fielder Randal Grichuk had other ideas. He tracked the ball to the fence in left-center, timed his leap, and snagged the ball just above the top of the green padding on the wall.

Rizzo would eventually homer, hitting one out of Grichuk’s reach in the fourth inning off of Martinez with the bases empty. Rizzo now has four home runs and 12 RBI on the year.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s Action

Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke wipes his forehead after giving up a run to the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Wednesday night’s West coast match-up between the Diamondbacks and Giants at AT&T Park will feature two starters who are not only good at pitching, but hitting as well. Zack Greinke will start for the D-Backs opposite the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner. Greinke has six career home runs, including two last year, while Bumgarner has 12 career round-trippers, including five last season and one already in 2016. Since he came into the league in 2004, only six pitchers have hit more homers than Greinke: Bumgarner, Carlos Zambrano, Yovani Gallardo, Travis Wood, Micah Owings, and Dontrelle Willis. Opponents of the DH, such as yours truly, will find Wednesday’s game particularly intriguing.

Pitching-wise, both have been slow to start, but it’s nothing to worry about — especially this early in the season. Greinke has a 6.75 ERA over his first three starts, having allowed 22 hits and five walks with 15 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. Bumgarner has a 4.50 ERA on 19 hits and seven walks with 21 strikeouts in 16 innings.

Greinke inked a six-year, $206.5 million contract with the D-Backs in December, representing one of their two big offseason additions along with Shelby Miller. Miller has also struggled, and it’s been the club’s young pitchers — Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray — who have impressed thus far. Combined over six starts, Corbin and Ray have a composite 2.37 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 15 walks in 38 innings. One can almost set his or her watch to Greinke and Miller eventually figuring things out, so if Corbin and Ray can keep it up over a full season, the D-Backs will be in a good place.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker) @ Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar), 6:10 PM EST

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EST

Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman) @ New York Yankees (Nathan Eovaldi), 7:05 PM EST

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez), 7:05 PM EST

Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling) @ Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran), 7:10 PM EST

Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) @ Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello), 7:10 PM EST

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EST

Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 7:15 PM EST

Houston Astros (Doug Fister) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EST

Minnesota Twins (Tommy Milone) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EST

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke) @ San Diego Padres (Drew Pomeranz), 10:10 PM EST

Phillies call up Andrew Bailey, designate James Russell for assignment

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Andrew Bailey #38 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Phillies announced that reliever Andrew Bailey has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and lefty James Russell has been designated for assignment.

Russell, 30, allowed nine runs on nine hits and five walks with four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings to begin the season. He was part of Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Mets, yielding a two-run home run to Curtis Granderson.

Bailey, 31, didn’t make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster, but has pitched well in the minors to begin the season. He has allowed just one run on four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in five innings.

The Phillies’ bullpen has been an issue thus far, as their aggregate 6.14 ERA is the worst in baseball, a shade ahead of the Rockies’ dismal 6.00 bullpen ERA.

Confusion over a balk call eventually led to Mark McGwire managing the Padres

San Diego Padres manager Andy Green leans over the dugout rail in the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (11:37 PM EST): There was more controversy in the top of the fourth when catcher Derek Norris appeared to tag Gregory Polanco on the leg on a play at the plate, but Carlson called him safe. McGwire challenged the ruling and the play was overturned upon review.


Petco Park was home to some craziness over a balk call. Here’s what happened:

In the top of the third inning, home plate umpire Mark Carlson called a balk on Padres starter Colin Rea, allowing Andrew McCutchen to score. The umpires then got together and conferred and said there was no balk. That caused Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to come out for clarification. Initially, the umpires wouldn’t budge on overturning the call and Hurdle returned to the dugout. But as the Pirates’ broadcasters noted, their videographer told Hurdle he was right, and he came back out. The umpires — after some more conversation — overturned their overturning of the balk call, upholding the initial balk call. Padres manager Andy Green came out, got angry, and got ejected. As a result, Padres bench coach Mark McGwire became the acting manager.

Here’s the video.