The first person Zack Cozart thought of Tuesday morning when he learned he’d been named the Reds Heart and Hustle Award winner was Pete Rose.
The second was Andy Simunuc.
“He won the Charlie Hustle Award when we played together in a 9-year-old tournament,” the Reds shortstop explained.
The Heart and Hustle Award is given annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to players who demonstrate a passion for the game. Cozart, who missed the last 3 1/2 months of last season with a knee injury that required major surgery, went into Tuesday’s game hitting .263 in 84 games.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Cozart said. “When you’re recognized by people who’ve been out there and understand the daily grind, that makes it special. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Cozart’s passion shows through in his desire to win, according to manager Bryan Price.
“That was great, especially after working his way back through the injuries,” Price said. “Nobody’s happier at the end of the day when we win a game than Zack Cozart. It doesn’t matter if he’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, at the end of the day, he wants to finish with a win.”
The MLBPAA selects a winner from each team, and members, fans and active players get the chance toward the end of the season to vote for an overall winner, which will be announced Nov. 15 in New York.
Simunuc now is a Tennessee state trooper, and Cozart likes to keep tabs on him, especially with the recent wave of police assassinations.
“I tell him, ‘Dude, you need to text me every day when you’re done,’ with all the stuff going on out there,” Cozart said. “It’s crazy.”
Moscot surgery: Right-hander Jon Moscot, on Louisville’s disabled list since July 5, underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He also had loose bony fragments removed.
Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek performed the surgery at Beacon Orthopaedics.
Moscot went 0-3, 8.02 in five starts during two stints with the Reds. He was on the disabled list from April 3 through April 16 with a strained left intercostal muscle suffered in spring training and from May 7 through May 30 with inflammation in his surgically-repaired, non-throwing left shoulder.
Balance of power: The Reds went into Tuesday’s game as one of two teams with five players with 15 home runs. All-Star left fielder Adam Duvall led the team with 23, followed by All-Star right fielder Jay Bruce with 18.
The next three on the list were infielders: third baseman Eugenio Suarez with 16 and Cozart and first baseman Joey Votto with 15 each. All homered in the fourth inning of Cincinnati’s 8-2 win over Atlanta on Monday with Cozart tying his single-season high. Suarez similarly has rushed past the career high of 13 he set last season.
“When you go around the horn and you think about what we’ve gotten from first base, short, third, left and right, that’s some sizable numbers right there,” Price said.
The other team with five players with at least 15 homers is American League East Division-leading Baltimore.
Rotation update: Price had some fun with reporters as they walked into his office Tuesday for the daily pregame briefing. Knowing the interest in the rotation for this weekend, he has listed on his office whiteboard Nolan vs. Johnson on Friday, Gullett vs. Schilling on Saturday and Billingham vs. Stottlemyre on Sunday.
That would be Gary Nolan, Don Gullett and Jack Billingham — all Big Red Machine starters — going for the Reds and former Diamondbacks Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Todd Stottlemyre on Sunday.
Actually, the only commitment Price could make was right-hander Dan Straily will start for the Reds on Friday.
Next: The Reds and Braves wrap up their three-game series at 12:35 on Wednesday. Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (4-0) is due to start for Cincinnati. Right-hander Lucas Harrell (1-1) is Atlanta’s scheduled starter.
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