Gausman on joining Reds: 'There's a lot to like'

August 6th, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Kevin Gausman arrived at Great American Ball Park at about 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, following a seven-hour drive from Atlanta. The length of the drive and a few traffic jams gave him some time to ponder his new opportunity with the Reds.

“I definitely didn’t think this was going to happen, but this game surprises you,” Gausman said, the day after being claimed off waivers by the Reds from the Braves. “I’m excited to come here. They have some really good arms and some really good players. There’s a lot to like here.”

Gausman had a phone conversation with pitching coach Derek Johnson, who had seen him pitch in college, and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell to discuss the plan for him moving forward.

“They seem to have a really close relationship,” Gausman said. “It’s always a good thing when your pitching coach and bullpen coach are on the same page. I’m looking forward to contributing to whatever they need. I’ve relieved in the past. I only feel like my stuff is only going to get better out of the bullpen.”

Gausman posted a 1.66 ERA in his first six starts as a member of the Braves last season, whom he joined at the Trade Deadline. But he struggled in September, giving up 12 earned runs over his last four starts. The struggles carried over into this season, with him posting a 6.19 ERA.

He did allow just one earned run over seven innings against the Nationals on July 21, but then gave up 11 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings over his next two starts.

“I’ve thrown the ball a lot better than the numbers say,” Gausman said. “Sometimes that’s tough.”

To make room on the roster for Gausman, left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta was optioned to Louisville. Peralta has a 5.06 ERA in 37 appearances.

Reds manager David Bell, who is serving the final game of his suspension Tuesday, said that Gausman is rested and could be used immediately.

Even after a long drive, the 28-year-old right-hander says he’s ready to go.

“It’s fortunate it was a place I could drive to,” Gausman said, smiling. “It wasn’t San Diego, or something.”

Next man up: O’Grady gets his chance

The recent promotions and subsequent success of Triple-A teammates Josh VanMeter and Aristides Aquino gave Brian O’Grady hope that his time might be coming. But the callup Monday still came as a shock.

“I was sitting on my parents' couch, thinking I was playing Lehigh Valley today,” O’Grady told reporters Tuesday. “Next thing you know, I’m driving to the airport to come here. I’m super excited.”

When Derek Dietrich was placed on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, an opportunity was presented for O’Grady, who had his contract selected from Triple-A Louisville after more than 1,800 at-bats in the Minor Leagues.

O’Grady, an eighth-round Draft choice by the Reds in 2014, batted .277 with 27 home runs and 70 RBIs at Triple-A with a .351 on-base percentage.

VanMeter was O’Grady’s roommate on the road, and he has been a teammate of Aquino’s since he was drafted.

“He’s had a nice year,” Bell said Monday. “It’s a great opportunity for him. He has worked very hard to get to this point. He’s a great fit from a roster standpoint, losing the left-handed bat with Dietrich.”

O’Grady was in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the eighth Monday night, but Tucker Barnhart grounded out to end the inning. O'Grady's family was expected to be at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night, in case he gets another chance.

“It will hit me more tonight when [my parents] are here,” O’Grady said. “I’m proud of what I did down there. I was hoping I’d get my chance.”

Heart and Hustle

Reds infielder Jose Iglesias was presented with his Heart and Hustle Award prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels at Great American Ball Park.

The award, which honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game, was presented to Iglesias by Reds hitting coach Turner Ward.

Iglesias is among the 30 preliminary winners of the 2019 Heart and Hustle Award. The overall winner will be announced Nov. 7 at the 20th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City.

Who’s on First?

The answer to that question for the Cincinnati Reds is Joey Votto, of course.

But during the third-annual MLB Players’ Weekend, the back of Votto’s jersey will read “Who”, in deference to the legendary Abbott and Costello skit from the 1930s.

Votto’s nickname choice is another example of his unconventional sense of humor and is in keeping with the theme of Players’ Weekend, which takes place Aug. 23-25.

During Players’ Weekend, players will get an opportunity to showcase their passions, backgrounds and interests by putting their own personal touches on their uniforms and equipment. On Tuesday, the always popular player nicknames were announced for each club.

The full list of Reds’ nicknames:

Aristides Aquino: "AQUINO"

Tucker Barnhart: "TUCK"

Trevor Bauer: "J OCHART"

Luis Castillo: "LA PIEDRA"

Anthony DeSclafani: "DISCO"

Derek Dietrich: "DIETZ"

Phillip Ervin: "MAGIC"

Kyle Farmer: "FARM DAWG"

Amir Garrett: "COUNT ON AG"

Kevin Gausman: "GAUSY"

Sonny Gray: "GRAY"

David Hernandez: "D HERN"

Jared Hughes: "OSTRICH"

Jose Iglesias: "CANDELITA"

Raisel Iglesias: "OLIVER"

Michael Lorenzen: "ZEN"

Tyler Mahle: "MAL"

Wandy Peralta: "LA GRASA"

Jose Peraza: "MY LITTLE ONES"

Nick Senzel: "LIL SENZ"

Lucas Sims: "LOOSH"

Robert Stephenson: "BOB"

Eugenio Suarez: "BOLIBOMBA SUAREZ"

Josh VanMeter: "MEAT SAUCE"

Joey Votto: "WHO"

Jesse Winker: "BIRD"

Alex Wood: "AWOOD"