A: Knowing Votto’s bizarre playfulness it wouldn’t surprise me if he walked onto the field with no pants. Baseball players are ultra-superstitious. If they do well wearing their pants one way, they keep wearing them that way until they have a couple of bad days. Then they change the way they wear their pants. Votto isn’t the only one who does that. Billy Hamilton does it. Zack Cozart does it. Brandon Phillips does it. Clearly, in baseball, pants length makes the man — or doesn’t make him, depending upon the day.
Q: Now that Anthony DeSclafani has established himself and the Reds have him under control for four more years, will they trade him this year? — RICK, Loveland.
A: You’re being facetious, right? I hope so. DeSclafani is a top-of-the-rotation guy and isn’t going anywhere. Depending upon if and when Homer Bailey ever gets back, DeSclafani might be the No. 1 guy. He has style, he has poise, he has intestinal fortitude and, best of all, he doesn’t issue those infernal walks. And one of these days somebody is going to catch him smiling. It hasn’t happened yet.
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Q: How active will the Reds be at the trade deadline? — BRAD, Paulding, OH.
A: We’ll find out over the next seven days because the deadline is next Sunday. If the Reds are telling their fans the truth about their grand plan, then they’ll be very active. Scouts have been flitting around the press box like working ants on this homestand, most observing Jay Bruce. I’d wager he is gone. Other? It depends on who other teams want and what they offer. This isn’t a white elephant sale. The Reds aren’t just dumping salary. They seek a good return for whomever they trade, mostly prospects who look as if they know which end of the bat to hold.
Q: Adam Duvall is having a great year so wouldn’t it make sense for the Reds to trade him while he’s hot? — JORDAN, Lima
A: Makes about as much sense as buying high and selling low. Duvall is part of the rebuild. The Reds gave up Mike Leake to get him, even though he was a throw-in because the Reds also received pitcher Keury Mella, the guy they really wanted. Mella, 22, is 4-2 with a 3.54 ERA for the Class A Daytona Tortugas. Left field has been a vast wasteland for years and it looks as if Duvall can turn that into prosperity. Trade him? Ludicrous.
Q: Why don’t the Reds celebrate Frank Robinson the way they do other team greats? Was there a reason he wasn’t at the Pete Rose weekend celebration? — MARK, Kettering.
A: They do appreciate Robby and that’s why his number 20 is retired and hanging on that facade behind home plate. I understand he is having some health issues and that might be the reason. Robinson, along with Vada Pinson, played a huge role in Rose’s early days. When the white players shunned Rose because he was taking the job of team favorite Don Blasingame, Robinson and Pinson adopted Pete and made him feel comfortable.
Q: Please share with us a behind-the-scenes story on Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. — ALAN, Sugar Creek Twp.
A: So many, so many. He is the only former player ever to call me on Christmas Eve to wish my family a happy holiday season. When I first lost eyesight, my wife Nadine would call me every day at 11:30 during spring training on her lunch break. It was always during batting practice and Griffey picked up on it. When my phone rang one day, he grabbed it from my hands and said, “Hey, Nadine. He’s OK. We’re taking care of him. Don’t worry about him.” But later when I tripped over a curb and fell as he was driving by, he kept going. When I reached the clubhouse he laughed and said, “You need to watch where you’re going.”
Q: Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon used three pitchers in the outfield against the Reds this year. I think I recall the Reds doing that in a game back in late ’60s/early ’70s with Wayne Granger. Does that ring a bell with you? DUKE, Beavercreek.
A: Wayne Granger, a tall, skinny right-hander, was Sparky Anderson’s first closer and Granger used a sinkerball to record 35 saves in 1970, a National League record at the time. He also won six games and had a 2.55 ERA. And, yes, the bell tolls. In 1970, Sparky moved Granger from the mound to left field and brought in left-hander Mel Behney to face a left-hander, then brought Granger back into the game to finish it. Sparky always was a man ahead of his time.
Q: Nick Senzel, the Reds’ No. 1 pick in this year’s draft looks as if he could be the real deal. How quicky do you think the Reds will move him up through the system due to the present situation at third base? – MIKE, Kettering.
A; Let’s not rush things. He is currently at low-A Dayton and has three more classifications to climb before reaching the majors. It is all up to him and how he does at each stop. Remember former No. 1 pick Brandon Larson, a third baseman? He tore it up in the minors and was a major bust in the majors. Eugenio Suarez is a shortstop learning to play third base and is a nice fit until Senzel earns his way to the top in three or four years. Remember what Paul Masson said: “No wine before its time.”