CINCINNATI -- One of the first things Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez did before Friday’s game vs. the Cubs was to find a seat in what is usually the family section in the lower level of Great American Ball Park.
It wasn’t just any seat. Suárez sat in front of a pair of cutouts that featured the photos of his wife and young daughter. Cincinnati hadn’t played any home games in two weeks.
“It’s my first time seeing the cutouts in the stands in the family section,” Suárez said. “To see my little one and my wife, it’s kind of like, for me, it’s a lot, because … three months, four months, I haven’t seen my wife and my little one. They’re all with me, but this is a lot for me. I know they support me from home, but I want to be with them.”
Later that night, Suárez went 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs during the Reds’ 6-5 victory over the Cubs.
“Look to the stands and see my little one and my wife in the stands like that, it’s a lot for me," he said. “Today was my first day watching that, and I had a really good day, really good game.”
DeSclafani welcomes firstborn
Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani returned from paternity leave on Friday after he and his wife, Lauren, welcomed their first baby, a boy named Cru James DeSclafani, on Tuesday.
“Absolutely unbelievable experience ... it was awesome,” DeSclafani said on Saturday. “We obviously didn't know when he was going to go, but we had no induction scheduled. And the due date was Sunday and I went home [last] Friday right after the game, so I was there. We ended up getting induced because he didn't come Sunday, so we had to kick-start the process so I can get back here.”
It was bittersweet for DeSclafani to return to Cincinnati from New Jersey. As a precaution to avoid COVID-19, he will be away from his family until after the season.
“It was the most beautiful experience and then having to leave him and Lauren was really tough, just because I know the first few nights are not easy, and I can't imagine it gets better too quickly,” DeSclafani said. “We have family to support her, but the nights are just kind of long. Just trying to figure out a good schedule that works for him so he can get some sleep. It was not easy and potentially, missing a month of his life and potentially more, it's kind of heartbreaking ... but it is what it is and you've got to do it.”
DeSclafani is scheduled to return to the mound on Monday and start against the Cardinals. He was not able to do much throwing while home in New Jersey.
“Threw a light ‘pen yesterday, going to throw another light ‘pen today,” DeSclafani said. “I think those back-to-back days will help me catch up with feel. It was super-light intensity yesterday, just kind of going through my delivery and feeling the slope of the mound again. When pitchers even miss a day, it makes things weird, so missing those extended days and not being in routine, I think getting off the mound two days in a row will hopefully accelerate that. I'll increase intensity today.”
Garcia felt prepared for Majors
Reds shortstop Jose Garcia has been really enjoying his first big league experience. When he debuted on Thursday in Milwaukee during a 6-1 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader, the 22-year-old rolled an infield single to third base in his first at-bat and also drew a walk, stole a base and scored a run.
“I’m excited that I got my first hit,” Garcia said Saturday via translator Jorge Merlos. “Obviously, I’ve always wanted to make the Majors. Right now, that ball is actually at my apartment. I’m either going to send it to Cuba, or if my family comes up, I will be able to give it to them.”
Signed out of Cuba for $5 million in 2017 as a 19-year-old, Garcia played for his nation’s powerhouse pro team, Industriales, before defecting. Following the ’18 season at Class A Dayton, he spent last season at Class A Advanced Daytona and skipped two levels to reach the Majors.
“It was my dream when I was little to be part of the team in the capital, which were the Industriales,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it’s a professional team, so it’s helped me convert now to the Major Leagues.”