Reds notes: Iglesias needs regular work

Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias smiles after walking a Phillies batter on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias smiles after walking a Phillies batter on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Closer Raisel Iglesias pitched Monday at Great American Ball Park even though the Cincinnati Reds didn’t need him. They led by eight runs when he entered the game. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning in an 11-3 victory against the San Diego Padres.

On Tuesday, Reds manager Bryan Price said the plan was to pitch Iglesias no matter the situation because Iglesias had not pitched in the previous two games. They want him to get regular work because he’s better when he does.

“We’ve talked to him directly,” Price said. “He doesn’t feel as sharp with the longer gaps.”

Iglesias is 2-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 46 appearances. He has 19 saves. He has produced five two-inning saves. That’s the most by any big-league pitcher since the Kansas City Royals’ Joakim Soria had five in 2009. No closer has recorded six two-inning saves since 2000.

Price was asked Tuesday about Iglesias’ reduced velocity Monday. He said it wasn’t a concern.

“I don’t think his goal is to see how hard he can throw it,” Price said. “I think certain days he’s feeling a lot better than other days as far as how the ball comes out of the hand. That’s not unusual for relievers. If you’re (Drew) Storen or (Tim) Adleman and pitching at 88 to 90 instead of 89-92, it doesn’t stand out quite as much as a guy who’s touched 100. He has a lot of different weapons — arm slots, speed variances — to get hitters out. He doesn’t need the maximum velocity.”

Amazing numbers: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Reds first baseman Joey Votto is hitting .331 in the first inning of games in his career. That's the highest batting average in the first inning in the last 50 years. Votto passed Rod Carew (.330) on Monday with a single in the first inning.

Votto also made history Monday with his 136th home run at Great American Ball Park. He passed former teammate Jay Bruce (135) to become the all-time home run leader at the stadium.

In a post-game interview on Fox Sports Ohio after the game, Votto joked he would call Bruce to let him know he broke his record.

“We’re both very very aware of everything we do,” Votto said. “I will let him know once I get back to the clubhouse, or maybe he’ll let me know. I don’t know.”

Votto has 251 career home runs. He ranks fifth in Reds history. He’s 21 behind Adam Dunn (270) and 138 behind the Reds’ all-time leader, Johnny Bench (389).

Next game: Asher Wojciechowski (2-1, 4.15) starts for the Reds in a 7:10 p.m. Wednesday game against former Red Travis Wood (2-3, 6.49). Wojciechowski allowed one earned run on four hits in five innings in his last start Friday. The Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2.

Thursday's game: The Reds will celebrate National Baseball Card Day on Thursday by giving all fans a pack of limited edition Topps Reds cards. The Reds and Padres close the four-game series with a 12:35 p.m. game.

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