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COLUMN

This week in baseball: Rose may be boosting Reds once again

Former Cincy star takes in, talks to Votto's big hit

Monday, June 24, 2013 - 7:51 pm

It has been a week of many questions throughout Major League Baseball, but few answers.

The first question: Is Pete Rose helping Joey Votto?

The all-time MLB hits leader was seen recently at a Reds home game intently watching Votto. The Cincinnati first baseman admitted that he saw Rose in the stands, and the Reds' slugger then homered. They reportedly exchanged thumbs-ups after the dinger, met and exchanged pleasantries after the game.

Cincinnati outfielder Chris Heisey is now ready to come off the disabled list and rejoin his team on Tuesday, when the Reds open a two-game series in Oakland.

The Reds will end their road trip with three against the Rangers this weekend.

One thing the Reds have built a confidence for is never giving in. Cincinnati is perfect in its six extra-inning games this season

ChiSox bats are offensive

Another question is whether or not White Sox hitting coach (and former Cleveland Indian) Jeff Manto is in danger of losing his job due to the ChiSox being last in the American League in both runs and hits?

Hitting coaches and pitching coaches have often taken the punishment for a team underperforming, and it's not likely that Chicago manager Robin Ventura has to worry about getting fired after he was selected to coach in the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game by manager Jim Leyland. The Tigers' manager probably based that selection on the great job that Ventura did in his rookie season in 2012 when the Sox pushed the Tigers right down to the end of the season. But this season, Leyland hasn't had to worry about the last-place Sox.

One thing that isn't questioned is that White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain has been one of the highlights for his club this season.

Crain's scoreless streak stretches back to April 12 and on Saturday it reached 29 games, as the Sox won their third straight game.

Crain deserves an All-Star selection too, with his earned run average hovering around a stunning .050 mark.

This week the White Sox host the New York Mets on Tuesday and Wednesday, before Cleveland comes to town for a doubleheader (making up one April postponement) Friday and single afternoon games Saturday and Sunday.

Tiger starter is perfect

In Detroit, the hot question is what will Jose Valverde do?

The Tigers' former closer has lost his job - again.

Leyland tried all spring to find a closer, and he couldn't, so the Tigers signed Valverde a couple of months ago. However, last week, “Papa Grande” was designated for assignment. He now has the choice of going to Toledo (Detroit's Class AAA team) or if he declines that opportunity, maybe another team could take a chance on signing him.

The free agent was unwanted during this past offseason, so it's unlikely anybody would be interested with his more than 5.50 ERA now.

Leyland says he'll go with Joaquin Benoit as closer for the immediate future.

Leyland also has a no-brainer choice for All-Star starting pitcher, his own Max Scherzer, who is unbeaten with 11 victories. The record is the best start for a pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986.

Considering Scherzer, along with Tiger star pitcher Justin Verlander, as well as Detroit's powerful starting lineup, not too many fans are feeling sorry for Leyland in that he doesn't have a closer.

Detroit ends its homestand this week with the Angels on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, followed by a road trip for three games in Tampa Bay this weekend.

Garza's guy

Chicago Cubs fans must be wondering if the Matt Garza they saw last week is the real one. Or does the Cub pitcher actually need Dionar Navarro to be his personal catcher?

Chicago manager Dale Sveum says it's clear that Garza and Navarro work well together (going back to their days in Tampa Bay), but Sveum also holds Welington Castillo, the team's top catcher, in high esteem, and has no plans to make Navarro Garza's “personal” catcher .

The Cubs visit Milwaukee on Tuesday, Wednesday nights, followed by an afternoon game on Thursday. They'll then fly out to Seattle to face Fort Wayne native Eric Wedge's Mariners this weekend for three games.

Lucky or good? Tribe needs both

Is it true that the Cleveland Indians lead the majors with a 14-7 record in one-run games?

Even though closer Chris Perez is still on the disabled list?

Yes.

Tribe fill-in closer Vinnie Pestano got a save the other night despite giving up three hits and a walk in a scoreless ninth inning against Kansas City, but like the old saying, it's better to be lucky than good!

Cleveland will need both luck and quality pitching this week as it begins another long road trip. The Indians will visit Baltimore for four games starting tonight, followed by four at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox this weekend.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Rick Rimelspach at rrimelspach@news-sentinel.com.