CINCINNATI -- It may have been the first Interleague Opening Day in history when the Reds and Angels met Monday at Great American Ball Park. That was the only thing that bucked the trend.
As the home of baseball's first professional team, Cincinnati is about Opening Day traditions and all were alive and well. This was the 137th Opening Day game and the 11th at Great American Ball Park.
"It's a holiday here," Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said. "It's something that is very, very special to the fans and to myself. It's something I look forward to every year. Regardless of who you're playing, it's still baseball and it's still Opening Day in Cincinnati. I think that's the most important thing."
No one does Opening Day quite like Cincinnati. After all, what other city has an Opening Day parade?
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The 94th edition of the Findlay Market Parade moved through the streets of downtown before the game, with over 150 different entries. The grand marshal was Reds great George Foster, while current players Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos rode on the back of one of the convertible cars among crowds eager to greet the 2012 National League Central winners.
"I did it about five years ago. It was better this year, for sure," Arroyo said. "The crowds were bigger. As we moved closer to downtown, it was a real nice and thick crowd over there. It used to be hot by Findlay Market and die down as you went. It stayed steady this year, which was nice."
Once the festivities moved inside the ballpark, Reds manager Dusty Baker was positioned near home plate for the annual fruit basket presentation from the Rosie Reds women's support club.
Syndicated national radio host Bob Kevoian from "The Bob and Tom Show" was the game's honorary captain, while Cincinnati firefighter John Winfrey sang the national anthem.
There were also some somber moments as the Reds joined all of Major League Baseball to honor all 26 victims of December's Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Conn. Both clubs wore a symbolic patch on their chests.
Members of the Reds family who died during the offseason were also remembered with a moment of silence. That included former Reds outfielder Ryan Freel, who committed suicide just before Christmas, and former pitcher Frank Pastore, who died in a motorcycle accident.
In an honor usually reserved for a politician or entertainer, the ceremonial first pitch was delivered by a baseball managerial icon. Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, who led Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, delivered a strike to Brandon Phillips, who played second base for Torre on that squad.
This time last year, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier just missed out on experiencing a Cincinnati Opening Day. He was taken north with the club out of Spring Training only to be cut the day before the opener when the Reds picked up reliever Alfredo Simon off waivers. Frazier was promoted from Triple-A Louisville about two weeks later and never left.
"It's special," Frazier said of the opener. "I talked to Zack [Cozart] about it the other day. It's like a mecca in the beginning here, you just want to play your best. I'm excited. I can't wait to go stretch and see the fans and a packed house again like we had in the playoffs. It's another thing off of the bucket list, you could say."
It was also the first big league opener for burgeoning superstar outfielder Mike Trout of the Angels.
"I wouldn't say nervous, I would just say it's anxious to get out there," Trout said. "All this down time you have in the clubhouse, you can hit all you want, the time that it's down time you want to be out there playing. Coming to the field today, seeing all the fans outside with the parade and everything, they have a great atmosphere here."
Then it was time to play ball -- against an American League club. Unlike the sure traditions of Opening Day in Cincinnati, that still required some getting used to.
"It's weird playing an Interleague game so quickly," Baker said. "It's a little different. We're not as familiar with them as we would be a team in our league. And they're probably not as familiar with us. It's a little different, but it still counts on the schedule."
Ludwick dislocates shoulder, to undergo MRI
CINCINNATI -- A 3-1 loss in 13 innings to the Angels on Opening Day already had the Reds feeling worse for wear even before the game was even over.
Left fielder Ryan Ludwick exited in the third inning Monday with a dislocated right shoulder. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury.
"It's sort of disheartening," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You hate to see a guy come off the field holding his arm like that. We've been doing so good the last couple of years without injuries. It's just a temporary setback."
During the bottom of the third inning, with Jay Bruce batting, Ludwick was on first base after taking a walk when pitcher Jered Weaver delivered a wild pitch. The runner on third base, Shin-Soo Choo -- who had doubled for his first Reds hit -- scored to make it a 1-1 game just ahead of catcher Chris Iannetta's throw to Weaver, who covered home plate. Ludwick alertly ran from first base to third base and slid headfirst.
That's where trouble happened. Ludwick's right arm got caught under his body.
"I was trying to be aggressive," Ludwick explained. "I saw Jered arguing at the plate. I saw an opening where I could get to third. I got there. The ground was a little wet, and when I slid headfirst, my hand hit the ground and it stopped. It just stayed there and my shoulder popped out a little bit. Not the best Opening Day I've had, but hopefully it will be good news tomorrow."
Chris Heisey pinch-ran for Ludwick and took over in left field for the top of the fourth inning. The solid fourth outfielder is a good bet to get more playing time as a result, but Ludwick's injury is still a big blow for the Reds offensively.
"It's one reason you discourage guys from going in headfirst," Baker said. "Only a few guys know how to do it. There are a lot of things that can happen badly to your hands, your elbows or your shoulders, as you see tonight."
Ludwick had his right arm in a sling after the game and said he was being treated with ice. He did not know how long he might be out.
"The good thing is when it went back in the socket, I got instant relief," Ludwick said.
After he hit 26 home runs with 80 RBIs in his first season with the Reds last year, Ludwick was re-signed to a two-year, $15 million contract in December. He batted only .220 with one homer in Spring Training but was coming on strong in the final days of camp.
"It's terrible," Ludwick said. "I don't think anyone wants to get hurt. It's funny, because I was really starting to feel good at the plate the last five games or so of spring. I was seeing the ball real good. I was seeing the ball real good today. I put together good at-bats. One aggressive play, it happened. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably do the same thing. It's just a freak accident. I couldn't help it."
Ondrusek hoping to find groove in Double-A
CINCINNATI -- Among the final cuts the Reds made to reach the 25-man limit, the club optioned Logan Ondrusek to the Minor Leagues. Only Ondrusek -- a veteran of 189 big league games since 2010 -- did not return to Triple-A Louisville. He was sent to Double-A Pensacola instead.
It wasn't as a punishment, according to Reds manager Dusty Baker, but viewed as the best way to get Ondrusek back on track.
"[Pensacola's] Tom Brown had turned his career around as a pitching coach there. Tom Brown knew him as well as anybody," Baker said. "It wasn't a slight on [Louisville pitching coach] Ted Power or anybody. It's similar to the Toronto Blue Jays sending [Ricky] Romero back to A-ball, I guess. [It's] to get his act together. Hopefully he'll be back sometime as soon as he gets his act together."
Ondrusek, who was signed to a two-year, $2.3 million contract in January, posted a 7.59 ERA in 10 games, allowing nine runs with 16 hits, six walks and six strikeouts this spring. This came after he struggled the final two months of last season and was left off of the postseason roster.
"He wasn't throwing very well. He knew it," Baker said. "His velocity was down for whatever reason. He said he wasn't hurt."
In a sign of their veteran status on the team, the Reds assigned Joey Votto and Jay Bruce the clubhouse's biggest lockers at the end of the room closest to the field. The spots are often reserved for players with either the longest tenure, or respected veteran status. In the past they have belonged to Ken Griffey Jr., Rich Aurilia, Ramon Hernandez, Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo.