Hughes honored to help Hooton end PED use

Garrett feeling better after tweaking ankle Friday; Schebler progressing in rehab stint

July 28th, 2018

CINCINNATI -- A group that works to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in all sports, the Taylor Hooton Foundation actively recruits Major League Baseball players to help spread its message. The foundation announced this weekend that its advisory board of active players reached a record 38 players.

That includes Reds reliever Jared Hughes and outfielder . Hughes has been involved since 2012, when he met foundation president Don Hooton Jr.

"It's incredible how I got involved. Taylor Hooton's brother, Don. Jr., was married to our real-estate agent who sold us our house in Texas," Hughes said on Saturday. "Her name is Chelsea, and it was a completely random occurrence and I ended up meeting him through her. I was totally on board with this, and it was like fate in my opinion.

"Growing up in the late '90s and early 2000s, there were rumors about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. That broke my heart as a fan. That's the last thing I wanted to see. I wanted all of my players to be role models. I know it's not always the case, but I wanted my favorite players to be hard working and that they got there because it was all hard work and no cheating involved."

Members of the Taylor Hooton Foundation advisory board believe using performance-enhancing drugs is illegal and dangerous and that any athletes who use such drugs are cheating their respective sports. Part of Hughes' role as an advisory board member is participating in the Foundation's "It's All Me" public-service campaign raising awareness of the dangers of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs.

The friends and family of Taylor Hooton formed the Foundation in 2004 after his death at age 17 following his use of anabolic steroids. Hughes has spoken on behalf of the foundation to student athletes, including once at Long Beach State University.

"Every time Taylor's story gets told, it is moving," Hughes said. "I truly believe it helps motivate people to avoid performance-enhancing drugs."

Garrett feeling better

Reds reliever , who exited Friday's 6-4 Reds win over the Phillies in the fifth inning with a mild strain of his left Achilles tendon, was feeling better on Saturday. Garrett was injured when he fell covering first base on 's grounder in a close play at the bag.

"It hurt pretty bad when I first did it, but afterward, after it calmed down, I was fine," Garrett said on Saturday. "I was telling them, I did hurt my ankle/Achilles a lot playing basketball, so it wasn't even close to what I've done before."

The left-handed Garrett said he threw some pitches in the bullpen on Saturday afternoon and it felt OK, and he's available to pitch again.

On the play at first base, Garrett touched the bag with his right foot but ended up hurting the left.

"I [dragged] my left foot. When I [dragged] it, I pulled it pretty hard," he said. "The guy was moving, man. I was trying to get over there. He was fast."

Hernandez proves dependable

Pressed into service after Garrett's sudden exit, right-handed reliever notched the final out of the fifth inning and pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts to earn the victory. Hernandez, 33, is 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP this season in 33 games for Cincinnati.

"He's done a good job for us all year, but I think last night was the best that I've seen him," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

Signed as a free agent to a two-year contract worth $5 million on Jan. 30, Hernandez opened the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and missed nearly a month. But he has since joined with Hughes to form a dependable late-inning setup duo.

"From Day 1 that he's been a Red, he's just been a real pro, kind of a quiet leader," Riggleman said. "He just really has good stuff. His abilities seem to be progressing. He really has a good breaking ball. He threw hard last night."

Schebler update

Three games into his rehab assignment as Triple-A Louisville's designated hitter, is 2-for-9 with a double, three walks and one RBI. The Reds' right fielder is on the DL with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

Schebler was scheduled to have Saturday's game off and play for Louisville on Sunday. He has been throwing before games.

"It is really on him to tell us when he is ready," Riggleman said.