Chad Wallach and his fellow catchers with Triple-A Louisville were almost as interested in the pending parenthoods of major leaguers Devin Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart and Stuart Turner as the future fathers themselves.
The Bats backstops all knew that, with the three Reds expecting to become parents in a relatively short amount of time, at least one of the minor-league catchers could get a ticket to the big leagues.
When Turner went on paternity leave Friday with Mesoraco on the disabled list, the Reds promoted Wallach.
“It’s awesome,” said Wallach, who drove from Indianapolis to Cincinnati after getting the news. “I’m excited to be up here. The timing is perfect. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
The 25-year-old son of former major league third baseman Tim Wallach was acquired by the Reds with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani on Dec. 11, 2014, from the Marlins in exchange for right-handed pitcher Mat Latos.
He has spent the last few spring trainings with the Reds, which gave him an edge over his teammates.
“I’ve caught a lot of bullpens with these guys, so that should make it easier,” he said.
“It was an organizational discussion,” manager Bryan Price said of the choice. “He’s very mature, and the player development guys felt like he was the most prepared. He’s got familiarity with a lot of these guys. He’s caught so many of them in Double-A and Triple-A.”
Wallach, who batted .226 with 12 doubles, nine home runs and 18 RBIs over 64 games with the Bats, will become the 13th player and second catcher to make his major league debut with the Reds this season.
Adding Wallach bumps the 40-man roster to its limit.
Ervin back: Joining Wallach in traveling to Cincinnati — though from Toledo rather than Indianapolis — was outfielder Phillip Ervin, who was recalled when the Reds placed rookie outfielder Jesse Winker on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip flexor strain.
“He said he did something during the Atlanta series, but he thought it was relatively benign,” Price said about Winker. “He didn’t tell anybody. Then he started doing some extra stretching and getting some treatment. He did something in his last at-bat coming out of the box (Thursday) night.”
Winker was the last batter of the sixth inning. He stayed in the game to play defense in the seventh and then was replaced by pitcher Michael Lorenzen in a double switch after the seventh.
“That looked like an unusual double switch because we ended up with Peraza hitting in that spot, but we had to get Winker out of there,” Price said.
Peraza came off the bench and provided a bases-loaded, ground-rule double that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead.
This stint with the Reds is Ervin’s fourth of the season. He’d just been optioned Wednesday to help make room for pitchers Luke Farrell and Alejandro Chacin.
Spinning wheel: The Reds went into Friday’s opener of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 54-74 record, a .422 winning percentage that had them on a pace to finish 68-94.
Sound familiar? That’s the same record with which Cincinnati finished the 2016 season. Through 128 games last year, the Reds were 55-73.
Want more déjà vu? The three-game series against the Cubs that ended with a come-from-behind 4-2 Cincinnati win Thursday drew 55,225 fans — most of them clad in Cubs royal blue. Average attendance was 18,408, dropping the overall average through 63 home dates to 23,383.
That left the franchise on pace to draw 1,894,008 fans for the 81 home dates, slightly down from last season’s 1,894,085. That’s an average difference of less than one fan per game.
That would be the lowest in the 15-year history of Great American Ball Park and the lowest for the franchise since the 1998 team drew 1,793,679.
Brother act: The Avett Brothers, a folk rock group, are scheduled to perform in a postgame concert following the second game of the series between the Reds and the Pirates on Saturday. The concert pushes the usual first-pitch time up to 6:40 p.m.
Rookie right-hander Luis Castillo (2-6, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to make his 13th start and first against Pittsburgh. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Gerrit Cole (10-8, 4.16), who will be looking for his first career win in his 10th career start against the Reds. He is 0-6 with a 5.14 ERA against Cincinnati.
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