They're paying attention to Siri in Cincy

CINCINNATI — There was much head-shaking and grumbling around Great American Ball Park about how the 39-game hitting streak of Jose Siri ended Friday night.

Siri, an outfielder for the Class A Dayton Dragons, was hitless when he came to bat in the eighth inning and the first pitch was behind him. Another pitch nearly hit him in the chest and then the Loons pitcher threw a wide 3-and-2 pitch Siri couldn’t reach with a pogo stick for a walk. That ended Siri’s Midwest League all-time record when it reached 39.

“I heard about it,” said manager Bryan Price. “Unless there is a history there I don’t know why there would be an intent to throw at him there other than to end the hitting streak.”

Price was told that a Loons player, Cody Thomas, hit three home runs in a game Thursday and the Dragons then threw at him. So throwing at Siri most likely was retaliation.

“Now I understand it a little better,” said Price. “Sometimes you have to protect your teammates.”

PRICE DIDN’T SEE MUCH of Siri in spring training because he isn’t on the roster, “But I know our guys in the system like him and he can run. He looks comfortable in the outfield — really looks like a baseball player. His body type is thin and sinewy, he moves well, he is athletic and coordinated. Last I saw he was at 19 homers and 29 stolen bases. Our player development staff thinks this kid has a huge upside.”

Siri, 22, is Rule 5 eligible after the season, meaning the Reds have to add him to the 40-man roster after this season or risk having him drafted by another team with the Rule 5 draft for $100,000.

“It would be really nice to see more of him next spring and if we protect him we’ll see a lot of him next spring,” said Price.

WHILE ON THE DISABLED LIST, Zack Cozart has worked diligently to get his bothersome quadriceps in playable condition — and he did a lot of reading.

“I’ve been reading books about the care and training of miniature donkeys,” said Cozart.

COZART COMES OFF THE disabled list and into the Cincinnati Reds lineup Sunday afternoon against pitcher Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals.

His donkey? He hasn’t seen Donald the Donkey since before the 10-game reoad trip, when Joey Votto presented it to him as his reward for making the All-Star game.

“I need to get a live feed surveillance camera so I can watch him,” said Cozart. “He is with other donkeys at Honey Hill Farm in Kentucky, about an hour away.”

Cozart says he needs to keep tabs on Donald because he gets more questions asked about the donkey than about baseball and said, “I did a question and answer session with kids before tonight’s game and I got about 10 questions about the donkey.”

SO WHERE DID COZART’S love for donkeys germinate? He said when he was very young his mother took him on a trip to a farm in Texas and there was a donkey on the farm next door.

“My mom’s boss had a farm in Texas that we used to visit,” Cozart said. “We would go there to fish. The place where we stayed, there was a cabin and he had a donkey. It was mean, too. I was told to stay away from it. I kind of liked them then. There is a donkey farm close to the facility in Goodyear. I take my kids there. It kind of grew from there. Joey found out I liked them.”

And how about baseball?

“I ran the bases on the last trip in Pittsburgh and it felt the best it has felt since I hurt it in San Francisco (in mid-May),” he said. “But you can’t game-test it until you are actually out there.”

Cozart was eligible to come off the DL and play Saturday, but it made more sense for him to play Sunday afternoon and not again until Monday night. Playing Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon cuts down the recuperation time. Cozart smiled and said, “I guess they don’t want me out there tonight (Saturday).”

The Reds have indicated they are not interested in offering Cozart a new contract, so he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

“I want to finish the year playing, and playing well and feel fine. That’s the goal,” he said. “I have the injury and rest is the only thing that will heal a muscle injury. It feels better now because I had the 10 days off. So the first month of the off-season will be some rehab and some resting and then it shouldn’t be an issue.”

SOMEBODY SOON WILL BE coming out of the pitching rotation because Scott Feldman is set to come off the disabled list and rejoin the team during next week’s four-game series against the San Diego Padres.

Bases on what Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Robert Stepehenson and Asher Wojciechowski have done in their last starts, Sal Romano appears to be the man with the laser light aimed at his head.

“Everything is going quite well with Scott Feldman,” said manager Bryan Price. “It won’t be a surprise to see him slotted into the rotation the next time through. He has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He has a knee issue that won’t go away, but he can throw without pain and he feels much more like he did earlier in the season when he pitched so well in the Washington and Chicago Cubs games.”

On June 25, Feldman held the Nationals to two runs and seven hits over seven innings and followed that up five days later against the Cubs with seven shutout innings on two hits.

Then came a couple of shaky starts due to a sore knee and the eventual trip to the disabled list.

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