Saturday, March 20, 2004

Lidle in Opening Day hunt

Pitcher adds seven-inning outing to solid spring training resume

By Kevin Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Reds could name their Opening Day starter in a matter of days.

Reds starting pitcher Cory Lidle delivers a first inning pitch against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Friday.
(AP photo)
Manager Dave Miley is offering no hints except to confirm Cory Lidle remains a possibility for the honor.

Lidle, a right-hander who signed with the Reds in the offseason, threw 73 pitches over seven innings against the Devil Rays on Friday at Ed Smith Stadium.

It was the longest outing by any major league pitcher this spring.

"Today was the first time I actually got out of my rhythm by rushing a little bit," Lidle said. "But I feel good about my outing. I was changing speeds well, keeping them off balance and getting a lot of ground balls."

Lidle allowed three earned runs on seven hits and got 14 ground-ball outs. The only tangible mistake was a fastball that Jose Cruz Jr. hit for a two-run homer in the sixth inning.

"Other than the home run Cruz hit, it was a great job," Miley said.

Lidle is 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA in four starts this spring.

"I feel pretty close," he said. "A couple more outings won't hurt, just to get to that point where you're not thinking about your mechanics."

OFF THE BENCH: When Reds catcher Javier Valentin came off the bench to pinch-hit in the ninth inning Friday, he carried a unique advantage to the plate.

Valentin not only had seen Devil Rays pitcher Jorge Sosa before, he also caught him several times last season while with Tampa Bay.

"He's aggressive with the fastball," Valentin said. "And when he's on, he's on."

Valentin got the fastball he was looking for and hit a game-tying solo home run in the ninth inning. The Reds lost 7-5 in 10 innings.

"In that situation, I'm looking for one pitch," he said. "A fastball down that you can drive."

SIMULATION: Because Valentin's homer forced extra innings, reliever John Riedling had to loosen up in a matter of minutes. The right-hander, who had allowed one earned run in his first six appearances, gave up three runs on two singles and two doubles.

ODDS AND ENDS: Catcher Jason LaRue celebrated his 30th birthday Friday. ... Outfielder McKay Christensen's five-game hitting streak ended. ... Infielder Juan Castro has a hit in eight of his past 12 games. ... Outfielder Austin Kearns is 2 for his past 28. ... Pitcher Jimmy Haynes is scheduled to make his second start, and third appearance this spring, against the Pirates on Sunday.

NCAA TOURNAMENT (Special section)
XU: Musketeers fight back to advance
Patient Sato picks his spots, hits his shots
UC: Bobbitt hits game-winner
Daugherty: Little guy not so little in Tourney
ETSU's Smith plays big
Hicks gets job done as Bearcats' stealth sub
UK: 'Cats pull away in 2nd half to win
Hayes just misses triple-double
Murray St. gets taste of Illini's Big Ten
Cowboys get Sutton's angry halftime message
Wolfpack uses defense to subdue Ragin' Cajuns
Pacific waves goodbye to 5th seed Providence
Maryland sets sights on 'Cuse's sharpshooter
Calhoun could do without matchup
NCAA Tournament at a glance
It's not exactly home, but it's close for the Buckeyes
Tournament chase is all about class
Team by team in the women's field
WNIT: Scoring drought ends MU's season
Victory sends Wilmington to title game

Reds pitcher lost for season
2003 Reds finances may have finished in the black
Inside Reds camp
Lidle in Opening Day hunt
Aching Nixon, Garciaparra out of action for Red Sox

Bengals, Sapp close in on deal
It's official: Keyshawn, Parcells reunited

MND plays nation's top-ranked team for state title
C-J storms into Division I title game
Colonels discover that the 3 is king
Royals win one for the ages
Mason Co. pushed to the 3-OT brink
Prep sports results, schedules

Silver Minister, Bejarano aim to play spoiler

Maruyama moves ahead
Sports digest
Sports this weekend on TV, radio

Return to Reds front page...