Created on Thursday, 07 March 2013 Written by GARY SCHATZ,Associated Press
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — A struggling Cincinnati Reds lineup turned Canada's tuneup into a trouncing.
Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Olivo hit three-run homers Wednesday night and the Reds piled up 18 hits for a 12-2 victory over the team that Canada will take to the World Baseball Classic.
The Reds have been struggling to score runs so far during spring training. They were aggressive against Canada's pitching staff and took advantage.
"Tonight it seemed that everybody was getting that first strike and did something with it," said Todd Frazier, who had a pair of hits. "For me that's basically what I was trying to do, just trying to get in a groove. Like (manager Dusty Baker) says all the time, 'You get that first-pitch fastball, let's go do some damage.' We hit the ball really hard tonight."
The Canadians managed only four hits in its final exhibition before opening the WBC against Italy over the weekend. Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is on Canada's team, didn't play.
"Hopefully we got it all out of the way and get ready for Friday," Canadians manager Ernie Whitt said. "We didn't swing the bats well, but they had some strong pitching. Sometimes you tip your hat to the opposition. When you compound that with shoddy defense, that's what happens.
Mark Hardy, who pitched for Double-A San Antonio last season, struggled through 1 2-3 innings. He allowed six runs on seven hits. Trystan Magnuson, who was Toronto's first pick in the June 2007 draft, gave up Ludwick's homer.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie left the game after three innings with tightness in his side.
"We took him out as a precaution," Whitt said. "He was only going to play four innings anyway. We are always very cautious of individuals. If they feel anything, we don't want to hurt them or extend their injuries. We are going to wait and see how he feels tomorrow."
Mat Latos pitched three innings for Cincinnati, allowing two runs on a homer by Adam Loewen.
NOTES: Two former MVPs are on Canada's roster. Justin Morneau won the AL MVP in 2006. Votto won the NL MVP in 2010. ... Morneau and Pete Orr played for Canada in the WBC in both 2006 and 2009. ... Phillipe Aumont, Chris Leroux, Scott Mathieson, Lawrie and Votto played on the 2009 team. Chris Robinson played on the 2006 team. ... RHP Jesse Crain of the White Sox has withdrawn from Canada's team with a shoulder injury. R.J. Swindle replaced Crain on the roster. ... Reds C Ryan Hanigan is expected to play Friday against the Chicago Cubs. He missed seven games with a strained oblique.