Notes: Castellanos' work ethic, Votto, Raley

July 25th, 2020

CINCINNATI -- For nearly an hour after the final out of the Reds’ 7-1 win over the Tigers on Friday night, was pacing and roaming around right field. Castellanos, who was removed for pinch-runner Travis Jankowski in the seventh inning, then caught about three dozen fly balls launched to him from a machine operated by outfield coach Jeff Pickler.

Finally, manager David Bell emerged and spoke with Castellanos for several minutes before they both went back inside. Bell acknowledged that Castellanos was not happy about being pulled from the game.

“I get it. I would be,” Bell said on Saturday. “You should never want to come out of a game, ever, so I get it. There are a lot worse ways to handle it when you’re pissed that you’ve come out of a game, that’s for sure. I get it. I respect it. The only concern, I just didn’t want him to do too much. I wasn’t going to allow him to go any further beyond that. I was going to do everything I could. He did take one more after we got done talking and then we walked off together.”

Castellanos, who signed a four-year, $64 million contract in January, is viewed as a below-average fielder. But he often bristled when his former Tigers club lifted him from the ends of games for defensive reasons.

How would Bell characterize his conversation with Castellanos?

“I would describe it as intense in a good way,” Bell said. “This guy is exceptional in his work ethic. Really, the bottom line is that's what it displayed last night. I do know that he wants to be a great player, a great all-around player, and he wants to make sure he's in the game, doing everything he can to be in the game at the end of the game. I think you need competitors, and Nick's absolutely a competitor.”

Votto: ‘Stay tuned’
On Friday, Reds first baseman did something he hadn’t achieved since 2011. Votto hit a home run on Opening Day against lefty pitcher Matthew Boyd. Only one of his 15 homers in a down 2019 season came against a left-hander.

“I had a rough year against left-handers, really one of the few poor years against left-handers in my career,” Votto said on Saturday. “I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I'm competitive in two-strike counts and I put the ball in play and if I'm competitive against left-handed pitchers, I'm going to have a very, very good year. So stay tuned.”

Many of Votto’s teammates have noted in recent weeks that the vibe and chemistry has been strong inside the clubhouse. What does the longest-tenured member of the club think?

“Good clubhouses are nice, but I've been in a lot of losing good clubhouses and I've been on some not-so-good winning clubhouses, and I'm going to take the winning team in a not-so-good clubhouse every time,” said Votto, who debuted in the big leagues with the Reds in 2007. “You're only as good as your wins and losses, ultimately. I think that changes the atmosphere in the clubhouse. But like I said, I've played for some teams that were happy losers. I'd rather be on a really contentious, combative winning team.”

Nice moment for Raley
Lefty reliever debuted for the club Friday with a perfect ninth inning and one strikeout. The final out was a popup to the infield by C.J. Cron, and Raley made the catch himself to end his first big league appearance since 2013 with the Cubs. He kept the ball.

“When it says ‘Opening Day’ on it, you’re not going to lose that one. It was something special,” Raley said.

Raley spent the past five seasons pitching as a starter for Lotte in South Korea’s KBO.

“I went over there because I had some holes in my game. I had things to learn and develop,” Raley said. “I found my edge again. I feel like I’ve shown people and have changed a lot of minds based on who I was before I left.

“There’s great crowds and a very intense atmosphere. For me, I had to learn to change eye levels, pitch up and down, because those hitters are really good. They all had a leg kick. ... We had short outfields, so I learned to keep the ball on the ground and be efficient. I learned a lot over there in those situations and competitions.”

Raley, who made the club as a non-roster invite, spent the shutdown ironically watching games in Korea from the United States.

“All of a sudden, you’re seeing your friends playing on ESPN every night. It’s, ‘You’re kidding me. I chose the wrong year to come home,’” Raley said. “I’m very excited for them. It’s very cool that they got to play. I was really hoping we’d have a restart. I obviously wanted to be here and have an opportunity to play in the States.”