Found July 20, 2013 on
Fox Sports Ohio:
CINCINNATI Sometimes rummaging through a rubbish bin turns up something that looks unusable but turns out to have value.Find an old lamp with a shredded shade, tarnished stand and frayed cord and if you put on a new shade, polish it up and replace the cord and you might have light.
Such is the case with Cincinnati Reds left-handed pitcher Manny Parra. The Milwaukee Brewers used him in nearly every way imaginable, trying to find life.
In 2010 he started 26 games and pitched 16 games in relief and was 3-10 with a 5.02 earned run average. Then he hurt his arm and missed the entire 2011 season.
The Brewers didnt yet give up. They signed him to a one-year deal for 2012 and used him exclusively in relief 62 times, 2-3 record, 5.06 earned run average.
Then they gave up. Parra was a free agent and the Brewers didnt re-sign him. They didnt have much invested since he was a 26th round draft pick in 2001 out of American River Junior College, where was Junior College Player of the Year.And nobody else signed him until just before spring training began and the Cincinnati Reds took a chance on transforming an old broken lamp into something with luminescence. It looked like wasted effort in spring training when he was hit hard and often.But he made the team and in April it still looked like a waste of time and effort six appearances, 0-1, 8.10. And every time he popped his head out of the bullpen the multitudes booed. Fans and talk radio wanted him banished, his uniform burned and his glove buried.At the end of April, he strained his left pectoral muscle and missed nearly a month. He returned on May 23 and made three scoreless appearances in May.And the transformation was on. It was as if Parra did a complete body transfusion. He turned awful into awesome.
Since returning from the disabled list, his earned run average is 2.08 for 17 appearances. And the recent numbers are perfection.When Parra faced two Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night, protecting a two-run lead, he struck both out, helping to preserve a 5-3 win.
He has retired 26 of the last 29 batters he faced. He has stranded 13 of his last 14 inherited baserunners, including 12 in a row. He has allowed just two hits in his last 11 appearances. He has made 16 consecutive scoreless appearance.That cellphone that keeps ringing is the Brewers trying to get him back. Now when he sticks his head out of the bullpen the multitudes cheer.He is just what the Reds needed a left-hander to replace Sean Marshall, the teams setup man and the only left-hander in the bullpen other than closer Aroldis Chapman. Marshall is on the disabled list for the second time this season and Parra stepped right in.And Marshall has been aiming advice and sharing knowledge to Parra every step from the bullpen to the mound.Parra has worked hard and I told him, You know, you have to feed that baby thats coming, said manager Dusty Baker, referring to Parras upcoming date with fatherhood.Parra is looking for a home (in the bullpen) and slowly but surely he is finding one, Baker added. Earlier in the year he didnt have much confidence in himself and neither did we in him. Marshall went down and now he is helping Parra through the situation.We all try to keep pumping him up, me, (pitching coach) Bryan Price, all of us. He has been unbelievable in his role right now.
Parra, a 30-year-old, 6-3, 203-pound native of Carmichael, Calif., credits Price with the major adjustment junk the curveball, implement a slider.Bryan came up to me with about a week left in spring training and said, Lets work on this slider. And I agreed because the curveball was just getting worse. It was just flipping up there. Id throw one good one out of six.I used to throw a breaking ball which requires more torque, you throw it differently, he said. On the slider you just stay behind it, more like a fastball and it seems easier for me to command. I can go in with it and out with it.For the last four years, my breaking ball has been hit or miss. When I did have a good breaking ball were the days I had success, he added.Im very comfortable in this role mostly facing left handers, said Parra. I know what I need to do to be successful. Before I was searching. Now I know if I execute the pitch and get ahead, Ill be successful."
Parra disagrees with Bakers confidence and lack of confidence tag.I feel like I did have confidence this spring, he said. People talk about confidence and the question I often ask myself? Is it success that brings the confidence. I dont think confidence is one of those things that you can just make up. Success helps confidence.Somebody laughed and said they thought it was the facial hair sprouting on his chin because he isnt shaving during this on-course success.Ive never done it and I said, Im going to grow this thing like the other guys in the bullpen, he said. Were having fun with it. I have some pretty bad facial hair and I said, Let me show it off.He can show off all the facial hair he wants as long as he continues to show off that new slider that has him on a run of perfection, something his beard never will be.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS
Brandon Phillips received a big contract extension from the Reds last year, but he still has some complaints about the way it went down.
The undisputed top pitching prospect in the Reds system continues to be 2011 first round pick Robert Stephenson.
The California native recently received a promotion to Advanced Single-A Bakersfield after going 5-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 starts with Single-A Dayton. The right-hander is starting to get many fans in Reds Country buzzing with excitement about his potential arrival...
If the regular season ended today, the Reds would be eligible for postseason play, but they would be forced to play a one-game playoff on the road for the right to advance to the NLDS. Yes, such is the life for the No. 5 seed in the MLB playoffs nowadays.
But don't feel too bad for Dusty Baker's crew because they have at least one outsider in their corner. That person...
Poor Brandon Phillips and his $72.5 million contract.
Last year, the Reds’ star second baseman signed a new six-year, $72.5 million deal to stay in Cincinnati. He didn’t say anything at the time, but apparently it wasn’t enough.
In a recent interview with Cincinnati Magazine, Phillips sounded off about how he feels about his contract, saying that he was irked about his deal...
The Cincinnati Reds wouldn't mind a repeat of last year's performance out of the All-Star break.
Backed by excellent pitching, the Reds will look to move a step closer to the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates when they play host to their division rivals Saturday afternoon.
The Reds, who won 19 of 22 out of the break last season to take over first place in the NL Central, got...
The Cincinnati Reds have been without left-handed reliever
Sean Marshall since the end of May due to a shoulder ailment. It appears
Cincinnati will be without Marshall for an even more extended stretch, as the
southpaw’s recent setback was diagnosed as shoulder tendinitis, according to
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
Marshall’s been rehabbing from a sprained left shoulder...
Brandon Phillips had to move into the cleanup spot because of an injury on opening day. He's swinging like he belongs there.
The All-Star second baseman drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double on Friday night, and Mike Leake got the better of left-hander Francisco Liriano for the third time this season, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh...
Homer Bailey has been very hittable since his no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds.
Jeff Locke seemingly has no physical problems to worry about as he brings baseball's best road ERA into this series finale.
Bailey will pitch at home for the first time since his no-hitter as the Reds seek to complete a three-game sweep of the Pirates on Sunday.
Bailey (5-8, 3.82 ERA) has posted...
CINCINNATI Two games into the sort-of second half of the season and the Reds have done what theyve needed to do against Pittsburgh to cut into their deficit against Pirates for second place in the NL Central. It hasnt been pretty, but then who cares?
Aroldis Chapman had arguably his most impressive performance of the season in earning his 23rd save of the year when he got out of...
CINCINNATI Clint Hurdle managed Sunday like it was a Game 7, or at least like a manager who was going to do anything to avoid a fourth straight loss, utilizing five members of his top-rated bullpen over the final three innings Sunday against the Reds. Dusty Baker approached things like a manager whose team is in the midst of 17 games in 17 days, including an upcoming 11-game, 10...
Brandon Phillips defended his comments from the August issue of Cincinnati Magazine that said he felt his six-year, $72.5 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds was a "slap in the face" and that he'd been lied to by general manager Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini.
"I have nothing to get off my chest. What did I say wrong? Please tell me, what did I say...
Brandon Phillips drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double on Friday night, and Mike Leake got the better of left-hander Francisco Liriano for the third time this season, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that tightened the NL Central.
The third-place Reds moved to within three games of second-place Pittsburgh. The Pirates lead their season...
Keith Allison The fantasy stock report is a weekly article that will provide insight on particular hitters or pitchers whose stock is either rising or falling based on recent performances. This week we will take a look at two starting pitchers: Matt Latos and Hyun-Jin Ryu. BULLISH- Mat LatosMat Latos was not elected to the all star game but has been up some spectacular numbers...
Brandon Phillips caused a bit of a stir Friday when some comments about his contract came out in an article in Cincinnati Magazine. He thought the whole thing was a bit overblown.
As he spun it, he allowed modestly that: "The fans love me."
All the more after Friday night.
Phillips' three-run double was the key blow in the Reds' 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh...
At the end of a very long day, the Cincinnati Reds were fretting on their bench. How would starter Mat Latos describe the mood?
"Anxiety," he said.
And, with a few 100-mph fastballs, Aroldis Chapman turned the anxiety into instantaneous joy.
Chapman escaped a two-on, none-out threat on Saturday, preserving a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that began with a long...