Sunday, May 13, 2001

Brower fills valuable role

Pitcher will start today

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The loss of Pete Harnisch to the disabled list Friday was tough for the Reds to take. But without Jim Brower it would have been a lot harder to deal with.

        When the Reds plug Brower, a 28-year-old right-hander, into Harnisch's spot in the rotation, they know what they're getting.

        Brower will start in Harnisch's place when the Reds take on Houston at 8:05p.m. (ESPN) today.

        Brower has made three starts for the Reds this season. One was very good. The other two were so-so. But the bottom line: The Reds are 2-1 when Brower starts.

        “He's done a good job starting,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “He's in that long man/swing man role. ... He can be real valuable.”

        Brower's last start was April 29. He has made two relief appearances since. The last came a week ago in San Diego — he went 5 1/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits — and prepared him well for today's assignment.

        “Strength-wise,” he said. “I should have no problem.”

        Brower has prepared himself as a reliever recently.

        “That's been my approach,” he said. “I loosen up every day, long toss. I'm always ready for a spot start.”

        Brower was obtained from Cleveland in the trade that sent Eddie Taubensee to the Indians.

        He split his time between Cleveland and Triple-A Buffalo the last two years. He was 5-4 with a 5.75 ERA with the Indians. He served in the same role there: Half his appearances were starts.

        The Reds brought up Brower April 15 to make one start. But he pitched well enough to earn a spot on the roster.

        “I know my situation,” he said. “I'm the swing man. They needed someone who could spot start or eat up innings out of the bullpen.”


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