Reds pregame notes: Bailey to start Game 3

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Reds pregame notes: Bailey to start Game 3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Homer Bailey will start Game 3 of Cincinnati's National League Division Series Tuesday at Great American Ballpark, Reds manager Dusty Baker announced Sunday afternoon.Bailey was initially penciled in to start a Game 4, if necessary, with Mat Latos going in Game 3. But Latos pitched four innings of one-run relief in the Reds' 5-2 series-opening victory over the Giants after ace Johnny Cueto left following eight pitches with back spasms.There had been speculation that Cueto could start Game 3, if his health was fine.
Instead"You can't take a chance with Johnny, and we have to see exactly, we can't have him go out there again and have something else happen to him and come up short (with the bullpen) again," Baker said, "When he goes back out there we will make sure to the best of your knowledge that he's okay."RELATED: Vogelsong to start Game 3
In five career starts against the Giants, Bailey is 1-0 with a 5.59 earned-run average with a pair of blown saves costing him wins this season -- on April 26 in Cincinnati -- and in 2010.Bailey authored a no-hitter on Sept. 28 at Pittsburgh.Cueto's one batter and eight-pitch outing in Game 1 was the fewest batters faced by a starting pitcher in a postseason game in Major League history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous record of two batters had been held by Washington's Curly Odgen, who faced two hitters in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series, against the New York Giants.Also, per Elias, Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips, who had three hits with a home run and three runs batted in, was the third Reds player in franchise history with at least three hits and three RBI in a postseason game since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920. The other Reds -- Tony Perez ( three hits, three RBI) in Game 2 of the 1975 National League Championship Series against Pittsburgh and Mariano Duncan (three hits, four RBI) in Game 3 of the 1990 NLCS against the Pirates.Baker, on Latos' relief appearance on the spur of the moment: "What Latos did last night is what championships are made of. Here is a guy over there relaxing in the dugout figuring that Johnny is going deep in the game and the next thing you know he's called into service. We try to give them an ample amount of time to get warm, to go in and get stretched out like starters usually do."Latos, meanwhile, said he would be ready, willing and available to start a potential Game 4 in Cincinnati."If they need me to," Latos said. "I threw only four innings and 60, 70 pitches, so it sucks that Johnny went down, and I don't think it's -- I'm young still so it's not like I'm Bronson (Arroyo, who is 35) where I have some miles on me. I'm able to, I feel real good, so if need be and I need to go Game 4, I will go Game 4."Baker said both Bailey and Cueto were flying back to Cincinnati early tonight.

Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs at White House

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AP

Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs at White House

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Monday and spoke about the power sports has to unite people.

"Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,"Obama said at a White House ceremony for his hometown team. "Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves."

"It is a game and celebration," he said, and noted that "there's a direct line between Jackie Robinson and me standing here." Robinson, a second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke Major League Baseball's color line to become its first black player.

The White House event came four days before Obama hands the presidency over to Donald Trump following one of the most divisive elections in recent memory.

It also follows a weekend in which civil rights icon John Lewis said he didn't consider Trump a legitimate president because of Russian meddling in the election. Trump responded on Twitter by criticizing Lewis as "all talk" and suggesting the Democratic congressman take better care of his Georgia district.

Obama has a home in Chicago, but is a longtime White Sox fan. He rooted for the Cubs after the Sox failed to reach the playoffs.

His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, however, is a lifelong Cubs fan. She greeted Cubs players before the ceremony, which Obama noted was her first appearance at some of the roughly 50 events he has hosted for championship college and professional sports teams.

The Cubs gave Obama two baseball jerseys — home and away — with the number 44, among other gifts. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also wears the number, and Obama referred to Rizzo as "my fellow 44."Obama is the nation's 44th president.

Obama said it will be hard for him to wear the jersey, but told the Cubs: "Do know that among Sox fans I am the Cubs' No. 1 fan."

Hours after the Cubs won the series in November, Obama asked the team on Twitter if it wanted to visit the White House before his term ends Friday.

The World Series title was the first for the Cubs since 1908, and they won it by defeating the Cleveland Indians in seven games.

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants avoided arbitration with three more veterans on Friday, agreeing to one-year deals with third baseman Eduardo Nuñez, left-hander Will Smith and right-hander George Kontos.

Financial details were not immediately available. MLB Trade Rumors' projections put Nuñez at about $4.4 million, Smith at about $2.3 million, and Kontos at about $1.7 million. The Giants reached deals with all six arbitration eligible players this offseason. 

Nunez, acquired last summer, will enter camp as the starter at third base. He posted a .269/.327/.418 slash line and 12 stolen bases after coming over from the Twins.

Smith was also acquired before the trade deadline, and he had a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances for the Giants. He is expected to play a pivotal role in setting up for new closer Mark Melancon. 

Kontos has long been Bruce Bochy's most reliable reliever in the middle innings and he could move to a higher-leverage role in a revamped bullpen. He had a 2.53 ERA in 2016, his fifth season with the Giants.

The Giants had previously reached one-year deals with Cory Gearrin, Ehire Adrianza and Conor Gillaspie. They have not gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when a deal could not be reached with A.J. Pierzynski.