The Reds are making some changes to their scouting and player development departments, reports Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Scouting director Chris Buckley, who has been in charge of overseeing all aspects of the amateur draft, and director of player development Jeff Graupe have both been reassigned to new positions. It’s not yet clear how the Reds plan to address the new vacancies, with one Reds source telling Nightengale that the team has not yet determined whether it’ll look outside the organization for replacements or promote from within.
A bit more from the NL Central…
- Though Kris Bryant’s absence has undoubtedly been longer than the Cubs had hoped, the slugger may not be on the shelf much longer. Manager Joe Maddon tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he expects Bryant back by September, which would give the former NL MVP a month to round into form in advance of a hopeful postseason run. Bryant feels he’ll need only three or four games on a minor league rehab assignment before he’s ready to return. It’s been a “down” season for Bryant, though only by his own lofty standards. Through 358 trips to the plate, he’s hitting .276/.380/.474 with 11 homers, 21 doubles and three triples.
- Though some Cardinals fans in the past have clamored for third base coach Jose Oquendo to receive managerial consideration, Oquendo tells Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he’s previously made it clear to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak that he’s not interested in managing. Going further, Oquendo emphatically threw his full support behind current interim skipper Mike Shildt, telling Frederickson that the Cardinals already have “the right guy” and that the front office should “decide now” and make Shildt the permanent manager. Oquendo raved to Frederickson about the manner in which Shildt prepares the team and works with the players.
- The Pirates believe they’ll have righty Chad Kuhl back at some point in September, writes Kent Youngblood of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said the plan for Kuhl is to start a throwing program during the next homestand before moving up to a minor league rehab assignment. Kuhl hasn’t pitched since late June due to a forearm strain. It’s not clear just yet if there’ll be rotation work available for Kuhl, as the Buccos have Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove in the starting five now, with Nick Kingham also in the wings in Triple-A. Kuhl tossed 85 innings earlier this season and worked to a 4.55 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 36.2 percent ground-ball rate in 16 starts.