Reds’ Suarez hopes one good game gets him out of slump

The Reds’ Eugenio Suarez, right, slaps hands with third-base coach Billy Hatcher after a home run against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Caption
The Reds’ Eugenio Suarez, right, slaps hands with third-base coach Billy Hatcher after a home run against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

No one player gets the blame for the Cincinnati Reds joyless June. The starting pitching has been most at fault, but several position players have slumped as well.

Third baseman Eugenio Suarez has seen his average drop from .287 to .265 since the start of the month. He was 2-for-4 with a home run and two walks Tuesday in an 8-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park. He hopes that performance gets him going.

“It’s not mechanics,” Suarez said. “My swing is good. My mechanics are good. It’s more mental.”

Five notable Reds promotions this season

Suarez hit .248 with a .317 on-base percentage last season, his first full season with the Reds. Despite his June troubles, his on-base percentage stands at .365. That’s the third-best mark among Reds starters behind Joey Votto (.414) and Zack Cozart (.404).

“I just try to have good at-bats,” Suarez said. “I’m just thinking about hitting my pitch in the strike zone. If it’s not in the strike zone, I don’t want to swing at that ball.”

Injury update: Zack Cozart should return to the lineup Thursday or Friday, Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Reds win longball battle vs. Brewers

Cozart missed his ninth straight game Wednesday. He went on the 10-day disabled list on June 19 with a strained right quadriceps muscle. The Reds were 3-5 without Cozart heading into the second game of a three-game series against the Brewers.

The Reds want to be cautious with Cozart’s health.

“It’s kind of like the old Dusty Baker rule,” Cozart said. “You say you feel good? Well, OK, you get another day. That’s were we’re at. I’m doing everything. The base running was kind of the last thing. I did it on Monday. I couldn’t really get into it because there was stuff going on in the field. Today I was solo out there and felt good.”

Good teammate: First baseman Joey Votto took the extra step Wednesday in his quest to get Cozart into the starting lineup in the All-Star Game.

Votto dressed in a donkey costume and held up a sign that read, “Vote Cozart” in an interview on the field. Cozart stood next to him with a T-shirt that read, “Life is better with a donkey.”

Votto has promised to buy Cozart a donkey if he gets a starting nod in the All-Star Game. As of Monday, he was leading the National League with 1,915,806 votes.

“Who would have thought this donkey thing would take off like it has,” Cozart said.

Cozart’s wife Chelsea has gotten used to the idea that they may soon own a donkey.

“I think she’s OK with it,” Cozart said. “She’s like, ‘I want you to be an All-Star. We’ve got to sacrifice.’ I’ve had a lot of offers to take care of it in Cincinnati, so that’s a positive.”

Roster move: The Reds placed starter Brandon Finnegan on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury. They recalled reliever Austin Brice from Triple-A Louisville. Brice was demoted on Tuesday but didn't leave town.

About the Author

ajc.com