An off-field incident will not prevent Mike Leake from making
his next start for the Cincinnati Reds.
Three days after being arrested on misdemeanor shoplifting
charges, Leake looks to help the Reds avoid a fifth straight loss
Thursday and first sweep by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Great
American Ball Park.
Leake (2-0, 5.40 ERA) was arrested by Cincinnati police Monday
at a downtown department store, accused of removing the tags from
six T-shirts and trying to steal them. The shirts were valued at
$59.88. Leake is making $425,000 in his second season in the
After discussions within the organization, manager Dusty Baker
decided to keep the 23-year-old right-hander on schedule to start.
Leake has not talked publicly about the incident, other than to
issue an apology “for this distraction.”
In his first court hearing Tuesday, Leake’s lawyer asked to let
him enter a diversion program for first-time offenders. If
accepted, he would pay a $200 fee, likely perform volunteer work
and take a class.
Baker and the Reds hope baseball can be a pleasant distraction
for Leake, who allowed two runs in six innings of an 11-2 win over
Pittsburgh on Saturday.
“We talked about how he felt and could he handle the pressures
of it, and he said yeah,” Baker said. “Sometimes when you’re in
times of trouble, it’s easier to go to work than to not go to
“Hopefully this will be a sanctuary from what transpired this
Leake, who pitched for Arizona State, will try for a better
outing against the Diamondbacks after he allowed six runs in 4 2-3
innings of a 10-8 loss at Arizona on April 10.
Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew had four hits with three RBIs in
that contest, and two hits in the Diamondbacks’ 3-1 win over
Cincinnati (9-9) on Wednesday.
The Diamondbacks (8-8) hope to extend their season-high winning
streak to four games while looking for their first sweep in
Cincinnati since Aug. 13-15, 2002 – the year before Great American
Ball Park opened.
Drew is batting .326 this season, and .405 during a 10-game
hitting streak versus Cincinnati.
Daniel Hudson (0-3, 4.26) takes the ball for Diamondbacks hoping
to get some rare support.
The right-hander has allowed nine earned runs in 19 innings over
three starts, but his teammates have scored just four. Hudson
allowed five runs and struck out 10 in six innings of a 5-2 loss to
San Francisco on Friday.
“He has thrown good games for us and has nothing to show for
it,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
He allowed two runs in seven innings of a 6-1 loss to the Reds
on April 9, dropping his record to 1-2 with a 2.05 ERA versus
Cincinnati. The victory came in Cincinnati, when he allowed four
hits in eight scoreless innings of a 3-1 win Sept. 14.
“We’ve faced him three times and he’s thrown the ball well every
time,” said Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, who is 1 for 8 in the
series but 3 for 8 versus Hudson.
The Reds, who have not been at .500 since May 8, have totaled
eight runs and 13 hits over the last three games.
“As long as we don’t panic and continue to work hard, it’ll be
great,” Baker said. “I’m not happy, but I’m positive.”
After going hitless the previous two games, Joey Votto went 2
for 4 on Wednesday. The reigning NL MVP is batting .413, and has
gone 8 for 17 against the Diamondbacks in 2011.