NEW YORK -- No matter what came out of Saturday's Reds-Yankees game, it was going to be a special day for rookie Mike Costanzo. The 28-year-old, who spent eight years in the Minors before getting his first callup last weekend, made his first big league start as Cincinnati's designated hitter.Costanzo notched his first Major League hit with a one-out single in the sixth inning off Ivan Nova. In the eighth, he drove in what turned out to be the deciding run with a sacrifice fly to center field.
"It's pretty exciting. I have a bunch of family members and my son is here," said Costanzo, a Philadelphia native. "Getting your first big league start in Yankee Stadium is pretty much everybody's dream."Costanzo understood the preparation needed to handle the DH role. "I used to DH for the Orioles in the Minor Leagues," Costanzo said. "It's easier here because there's a cage. You just have to stay loose all game and keep your mind right, and one [at-bat] at a time."
Reds considering moving Chapman to closer
NEW YORK -- There could be a change coming in the Reds' closer role, with manager Dusty Baker hinting late Saturday afternoon that he might turn from Sean Marshall to Aroldis Chapman.
There was bumpy ending to Cincinnati's 6-5 victory over the Yankees. For the second time in 10 days, Marshall could not complete a save and needed to be bailed out.
"Like I've said before, you've got to graduate to that position," Baker said of Chapman. "Who knows? Maybe graduation time is here. We've got to talk about it. As a matter of fact, I've already talked to him about it. We'll see. Marshall is a team man. It's not what he signed up for. He was forced into it. He signed up to be our setup man in the eighth."
After inheriting a 6-3 lead in the ninth Saturday, Marshall allowed two runs and four hits while facing the bottom portion of the Yankees' order. Jose Arredondo retired the final two batters for his first big league save. On May 9 at Milwaukee, Marshall loaded the bases in the ninth and needed Logan Ondrusek to complete the save.
Marshall is 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA and seven saves in 16 games. Chapman is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, seven walks and 38 strikeouts. He has recorded at least one strikeout in all 17 of his appearances. His only run allowed over 21 1/3 innings was unearned vs. the Mets on Thursday. Chapman worked a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts against the Yankees on Saturday.
"The only conversation we had was about what I was thinking or how I would feel as the closer," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera. "I said I'd feel great with however you guys want to use me. The conversation we had, nothing was affirmed about what was going to happen. It was just a conversation."
The Reds have been using Chapman in a setup role and Marshall as the closer because of injuries to Ryan Madson, Nick Masset and Bill Bray.
"Chapman was going to be in the rotation," Baker said. "We had to revamp and come up with a Plan B. We'll see about a Plan C."
Ludwick recovering from bruised left elbow
NEW YORK -- Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick was slated to be the team's designated hitter for at least two of the three games this weekend vs. the Yankees. Through two games, he hasn't been in the lineup.Ludwick was still smarting a little from being hit by a pitch vs. the Mets on Thursday. Amazingly, he had a large bruise on his left elbow after being hit by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey leading off the fifth inning. "We just worked on it. It feels a lot better," Ludwick said on Saturday. "It kind of got the right spot I guess. It's the second-most swelling I've ever gotten on a hit-by-pitch besides when I got a broken arm. It's probably one of the softest pitches I've ever been hit by. It was a 77-mph pitch, but it didn't have knuckleball rotation on it. It came straight in. First batter he's hit all year." Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn't concerned about Ludwick, who is batting just .183 on the season. Rookie Mike Costanzo started as the DH. "[Ludwick] probably could have played today, but I wanted to play Costanzo today and Ludwick tomorrow," Baker said. "We've got to get another left-hander in this ballpark with the short right porch."
Bray dealing with back soreness while on DL
NEW YORK -- Since making one rehab assignment appearance for Triple-A Louisville, Reds reliever Bill Bray has been in Arizona working at extended spring training. Bray, who is on the disabled list with a strained left groin, has compounded his situation with back soreness."We're trying to get him through that," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "His mechanics got out of whack because of the [groin] injury. Now he's having problems with his lower back." Jocketty did not have an expected timetable for Bray's return.
The Reds traded catcher Koyie Hill to the Cubs for cash considerations on Saturday. Hill was signed by the Reds on April 28 and playing at Double-A Pensacola. He was a non-roster spring invite to the Cardinals but was released on March 25.
Shortstop Zack Cozart did not start on Saturday as he is mired in a 1-for-26 slump. Wilson Valdez started, and Cozart entered the game to play defense in the eighth inning.
Highlight shows were buzzing Friday night about the catch of a Joey Votto foul ball made in the Yankee Stadium seats by a pair of Reds fans. Caught on camera in the third inning was a father lifting his son in the air to snare the ball in a stunning play. The father, Mark O'Sullivan, is the brother-in-law of Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan. O'Sullivan's son, Tanner, made the web gem and hugged his father.