Decision time approaching fast on Chapman
Reds could activate struggling reliever or option him to Triple-A
CINCINNATI -- The 30-day rehabilitation assignment for Aroldis Chapman is just about up, which means the Reds will have to make some sort of move involving the lefty reliever.Pitching for Double-A Carolina in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Chapman had his best outing yet with two perfect innings and three strikeouts. He threw 21 pitches (14 strikes). Chapman went on the disabled list May 16 because of left shoulder inflammation, but he has been physically healthy for a while. The last day of his rehab assignment is on Tuesday. "No decision yet," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He's got to end strong. To earn your way back here, you pitch your way back. You don't just have a name to come back." The Reds wanted Chapman to straighten out what became chronic wildness, to mixed results. Over five outings at Carolina, he has a 6.14 ERA with five runs, five hits, six walks and 11 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. Before that, he had a 13.50 ERA over three appearances for Triple-A Louisville. He spent 10 days between the rehab stints throwing with pitching coach Bryan Price at Great American Ball Park. Chapman had a 6.92 ERA in 16 games for the Reds this season, but had 20 walks compared to 15 strikeouts in his 13 innings before going on the DL. If the Reds decide Chapman isn't mentally ready to return, they could option him to Triple-A Louisville. Baker said he has yet to discuss the situation with general manager Walt Jocketty. "He'll probably show up, as guys do, on the way to Louisville," Baker said. "We haven't decided if he's going to Louisville or not. He still could pitch again on the 20th or 21st. We'll see. If he's Chapman before that wild streak, we can use him big time."
Nelson honored as Cincinnati's 'MVP Dad'
CINCINNATI -- Phil Nelson of Tipp City, Ohio, was honored prior to Sunday's game as Major League Baseball's MVP Dad for the Cincinnati region. Nelson, a father of four and grandfather of two, was greeted by Dusty Baker, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce at the first-base line. He also presented the Reds' lineup card to the umpires at home plate before the game."It's quite an honor; it's great," Nelson said. "My daughter Jenna nominated me, and it's a really proud moment for me as a father." Nelson has been in a wheelchair since 1981. Working for a moving company, Nelson suffered a spinal cord injury when a homemade camping trailer fell on him while he was loading it into a van. His oldest daughter, Megan, was only 1 when the injury occurred. The wheelchair has not kept him from being involved in his children's lives, though. Nelson has volunteered as a coach on several youth basketball and baseball teams, and he does his best to follow his son Zach's rock band. "All the kids have adapted pretty well," said Nelson, who has lived in the greater Dayton, Ohio, area his whole life. "They don't really know any better than, 'Dad's in a wheelchair.' I tried to do all the normal things that fathers did." Today, Nelson is a branch chief in contracting at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and he was honored on Sunday alongside Jenna, who is going into her senior year of high school. She plays basektball and soccer, and she is spending the summer attending camps, hoping to catch the eye of a college coach. Phil said he goes to as many camps as he can with her.
LeCure hurls three innings for Triple-A
CINCINNATI -- In what could be his final rehab appearance, Sam LeCure pitched three scoreless innings Saturday for Triple-A Louisville. LeCure allowed three hits without a walk and struck out three while earning the save in a 3-1 win over Toledo."The first inning, I just felt like my direction to the plate was not very good," LeCure said Sunday while in the Reds' clubhouse. "The second two innings, it was great. I felt really good. I was throwing the ball hard. I had some action on everything. I threw everything. The first couple of outings, I didn't throw any curveballs because that was giving me the most trouble." LeCure has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 29 with a right forearm strain. In four appearances for Louisville, he has a 1.35 ERA. "We'll see how he responds the next couple of days from the workload," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Burton departs for Arizona
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Jared Burton was scheduled to depart Sunday afternoon for Arizona and begin throwing at the team's player development complex in Goodyear.Burton has not pitched for the Reds this season and had right shoulder surgery in April. He began a throwing program last month and has worked off a mound for several days. A trip to Arizona was postponed last week because of shoulder tendinitis. "We wanted to make sure that was gone before we ramped up to live BP," Burton said on Sunday morning. "As fast as we were improving, it was almost too good to be true and we hit a little snag." Burton is slated to throw a bullpen session on Monday and face hitters in simulated game action on Wednesday or Thursday.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto did not reach base in either game on Friday or Saturday before singling in his first at-bat on Sunday vs. the Blue Jays. It was the longest streak he's had since he did not reach safely over three consecutive games on Aug. 30 and during an Aug. 31 doubleheader in 2009.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Tyler Jett is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.