Mike Leake is still in the big leagues, the rookie out of ASU remaining with the Cincinnati Reds after the club had to choose between sending either him or reliever Carlos Fisher to Triple A Louisville. Leake is with the Reds this week in Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks.â†µ
Leake has 22 appearances with the Reds this season, all as a starter. Now he's been shifted to the bullpen for the time being after back-to-back bad outings. Either way, Leake, as a rookie, is the pitcher in charge of filling the kiddie backpack with snacks for the other Reds bullpen guys. It's a common tradition in the majors, sort of a rookie hazing. Leake has to walk out to the pen in uniform with the pink and blue backpack in tow.â†µ
Leake got off to an amazing start this year, going 5-0 before losing for the first time. He's 8-4 now, and manager Dusty Baker was asked if it is due to fatigue from the 135.2 innings Leake's pitched this season. He pitched 142 innings for the Sun Devils last year, but there is still a month-and-a-half to go in the big league season, plus spring training earlier in the year.â†µ
"Not really," Baker said. "Everybody's looking for fatigue, it's just that he's getting some balls up in the zone a little bit, plus, hey, this the big leagues. These guys aren't going to let you just keep getting them out. These guys are studying video, these guys are making adjustments."â†µ
The Reds had a plan for the number of innings they wanted from Leake this season. Baker likes how Leake works hard and pays attention and wants to keep him fresher in case he wants to use him next month or in the postseason.