D-backs' Reed cuts out smokeless tobacco, not success
AUG 30, 2014 10:34p ET
PHOENIX -- Arizona closer Addison Reed is into round numbers these days.
Reed recorded his 100th career save on Friday while running his streak of successful conversions to 10.
He may be more pleased of his 0 dips along the way.
Reed vowed to give up smokeless tobacco the day Tony Gwynn died June 16, and his current run loosely coincides with his decision to abstain. Reed's hot streak certainly has more to do with fastball location and command of a second pitch, but he does say that he has never felt stronger or healthier.
"Obviously I'm 100 percent happy with myself that I am not doing it any more," said Reed, who played for Gwynn at San Diego State.
"I can't say that it is going to kill you, but it definitely increases your odds of something bad happening. Anything that I can do to try to extend my life I am going to try to do. You think it is easy to quit. I can't even count how many times I told myself that today was going to be the last day, or next month was going to be the last month. And the next thing you know, seven or eight years down the road ...
"I got hooked on it. At times, I felt like I had to have one in. I couldn't do the next task in my day unless I put one in. I couldn't drive home from the field without putting one in. I couldn't watch a baseball game without putting one in. When you think about it, that was not the way I wanted to live my life. I don't want to be I can only do this unless I throw in a dip."
Gwynn's passing seemed to flip a switch. Reed, 25, threw the seven cans of smokeless tobacco in his locker into the trash can in the D-backs' clubhouse when he heard the news about Gwynn, and also emptied his pickup of tobacco products.
"So the only way I could get one is if I asked somebody for one," Reed said. "As long as I didn't ask, I wasn't going to have one. Now, I honestly feel I can do anything without thinking about it.
"Every now and then, I will be sitting there and I'll be like this is the time I used to throw in a dip.' Definitely the thought creeps in my head. Once I tell myself that I am not going to do it and a couple minutes pass, I'm glad that I didn't. I'm trying to stop for good, so I don't want to be 10 years down the road and throw one in and say I'm only having one. Right now it seems to be going good, and I hope it continues."
Reed was told that he might gain weight by turning to a tobacco substitute, but he is the same weight as when he quit.
He has shed some ERA. Since June 27, Reed has converted 14 of 16 save opportunities with a 2.70 ERA . He has 24 strikeouts in 20 innings, and opponents are hitting .181 against him. After giving up eight home runs into late June, he has given up only two home runs since.
With a 1-2-3 ninth inning save against Colorado on Friday, Reed became the sixth-youngest closer to reach 100 saves since the stat became official in 1969. Francisco Rodriguez, Craig Kimbrel, Chad Cordero, Gregg Olson and Ugueth Urbina are the only players younger. Olson beat Reed by 40 days, Urbina by 26.
"He's had a great attitude," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He always said give me the ball. He some little mechanical adjustments. Last night, I thought we saw him throw it in awhile, if not all year. A lot of life on his fastball."
Reed moved about 10 inches toward the third-base side of the rubber about the same time he began his run, and it has given his slider more of an angle against right-handed hitters. Control has been a forte. He has 12 walks in 52-1/3 innings.
"Fastball command -- 'til the day I'm done playing, I think that is going to be the most important thing for me," Reed said. "I'm comfortable with it. Also the slider, throwing it for strikes when I want to. Not trying to do too much with it. I'm just going out and throwing it and whatever happens happens instead of thinking about it. That's when I tend to get in trouble when I start thinking about things."
With trust, his slider become more reliable as the season has worn on.
"I was trying to make it move with the way I would let it come out of my hand ... instead of throwing it with conviction and letting it move on its own," Reed said. "Right now, I'm not thinking about it. I'm just going out and throwing the ball and trying to throw it as hard as I can, and it seems to be working right now."
DID YOU NOTICE?
Nice couple of days for Jake Lamb. He was named the Southern League MVP in a vote of league managers and media members Saturday, one day after hitting his first career grand slam to beat Colorado. Lamb still leads the Southern League in batting average (.318) and OPS (.949), is second in RBI (79) and third in doubles (35) despite being promoted out of the league Aug. 1.
STAT OF THE GAME
22 -- first-pitch strikes to the 26 batters he faced by Vidal Nuno
* Daniel Hudson's next appearance will come for the D-backs -- he will join the team when rosters expand Monday and is expected to pitch Tuesday or Wednesday in San Diego, Gibson said, if the situation is right. He will be on a 25-30 pitch limit
* It does not get much better than Vidal Nuno on Saturday, although it again was not reflected in his record. Nuno gave up one run, two hits, did not walk a batter, struck out seven and retired the final 20 batters faced in the D-backs' 2-0 loss. "The past couple of starts, I've been getting my command down and getting ahead of these guys," said Nuno, who has made three straight quality starts and six overall but is 0-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 10 appearances.. "I don't know what more you can do," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's a shame. He did his job. He locates. He moves the ball around. He has a little bit of deception, too."
* Nolan Reimold was 2 for 4 with two singles in his Arizona debut on Saturday, when he started in left field two days after being claimed off waivers from Toronto. Reimold, 30, had surgeries to repair a disc in his neck in 2012 and 2013, an operation similar to the one Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had. "It's a been a long, very long recovery," Reimold said. "I've come a long way and I'm ready to get started again and restart my career."
Cliff Pennington reached based three times -- a walk, a single and an error on Rockies left-hander Christian Friedrich that looked more like an infield single -- and stole his sixth base of the season. Pennington has reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 starts while playing second base, shortstop and third base.