Sunday, May 20, 2001

Reds Notebook

Selby ready to fill holes as needed

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HOUSTON — Bill Selby, who played 40 games with Boston in 1996 and 30 for Cleveland last year, received his first National League start Saturday night at third base.

        As a career utilityman, Selby is ready to do anything Reds manager Bob Boone asks.

        Selby, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Louisville to fill Barry Larkin's roster spot, can play every position except pitcher. He'd probably do that, too, except he never has been asked to in a professional game.

        “When a manager opens his tool box, he has to be able to have that little all-in-one wrench. I guess that's what a utility guy is,” said Selby, who made 17 appearances at first base, 12 at second, 10 at third and six in the outfield with Louisville.

        By coincidence, Selby was on the RiverBats' bench, observing his first day off, when he was informed of his promotion. With the Reds having executed more than 30 transactions since Opening Day, the Louisville players expect almost anything to happen.

        “That's the big running joke, when the phone rings during the game — "All right, who's going?'” Selby said.

        DUNN ALSO RISES: In roughly two years, outfield prospect Adam Dunn has gone from being fresh off the University of Texas football practice fields to a step away from the majors.

        Dunn's ascent to Triple-A Louisville, where he homered in his first game Thursday, could be followed by a promotion to Cincinnati by the end of the year.

        “It was the strong opinion of our people that he'd be able to handle Triple-A pitching,” general manager Jim Bowden said. “We felt that would increase his chances of helping us sometime later this year, not just next year.”

        Bowden said he saw the merit of leaving Dunn with Double-A Chattanooga to dominate the Southern League and build his confidence. “We gave that a lot of consideration,” Bowden said.

        Dunn was hitting .343 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 35 games.

        But Bowden cited other factors that pointed to Dunn's promotion to Louis ville.

        Though the Reds envision Dunn as a corner outfielder, he was frequently stationed in center field at Chattanooga while fellow prospects Austin Kearns and Jackson Melian sandwiched him. The ascent to Louisville, Bowden explained, will allow Dunn to play a corner.

        Bowden added that Dunn was ready for the challenge of Triple-A pitching.

        “Due to his makeup and character, even if he went to Triple-A and had some failure, he would be able to handle it, because he's mentally tough,” Bowden said.

        UP NEXT Elmer Dessens (2-2) will start today's series finale against Jose Lima (1-1), who has a 9.61 ERA at home.


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