Sunday, June 02, 2002

Castro fills the gap in depth of infield

Reds notebook

By Neil Schmidt,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Juan Castro hits in the 8th inning against the Atlanta Braves Saturday.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        The hole in the Reds' infield depth closed Saturday when Juan Castro was recalled from the disabled list. The utility infielder had not been on the club this year after straining his left hamstring in a March 29 spring training game.

        “I'm just glad it's over now,” Castro said. “I hope it doesn't bother me anymore and I can stay here.”

        To clear a roster spot, the Reds optioned reserve outfielder Brady Clark to Triple-A Louisville.

        Since optioning Gookie Dawkins to Double-A Chattanooga on May 23, the Reds had only Wilton Guerrero as a backup infielder. He isn't as polished on the left side of the infield as Castro or Dawkins.

        Castro began a rehab assignment with Louisville April 10 but aggravated his injury in his first game. He didn't return to Louisville until Monday.

        Clark came to the majors for two stints last season, hitting .264 in 89 games, and made the team out of spring training this year. He was hitting .176 (6-for-37).

        “It's a numbers thing,” Clark said. “I had options left. It's disappointing, but it's part of life. Something positive's gotta happen out of this.”

        CASEY HURT: Sean Casey left Saturday's game with tightness in his right hamstring, the same one he pulled a couple weeks ago. He is listed as day-to-day.

        “It's just tight, not a tear,” Reds medical director Tim Kremchek said.

        GRIFFEY TESTS KNEE: Friday night, Ken Griffey Jr. gave impressions his right knee isn't bothering him. He attempted his first stolen base of the season (he was thrown out), bunted for a hit and ran down several bouncing balls in the gaps.

        “Once it warms up, it's pretty good,” he said of the knee, in which he tore a tendon that caused him to miss 41 games. “The biggest test is when the ball's hit in the gap, to try to stop it and throw. (Friday) was the first time I had to plant and throw from that side of the field, going to my left.”

        Thursday and Friday marked the first time Griffey played on consecutive games since returning from the DL. He reported no soreness Saturday, when manager Bob Boone rested him. Boone plans to play him two out of every three days for about another week.

        DUNN GROOVING: Adam Dunn started slowly in April. Does anybody remember? If not, it's because of how hot he was in May. Dunn hit .323 in May with an on-base percentage of .480. He had team highs of six home runs and 21 RBI in the month. He reached base safely in 24 consecutive games, including drawing a walk in 13 consecutive games.

        “I've been feeling good,” Dunn said. “I've been seeing the ball well. It's just one of those things where, when you're feeling good, everything goes your way, and when you're feeling bad, nothing goes your way.”

        Dunn's 24-game on-base streak ended Friday, but he went 1-for-2 with two walks Saturday. His 51 walks rank second in the National League.

        “I just try to get on base; I don't care how,” Dunn said. “When I'm not getting on base, I'm not doing much for our team.”

        DOWN ON THE FARM: Brandon Larson went 2-for-4 Friday in Louisville's 5-4 loss to Richmond to raise his average to .339, eighth in the International League. He also ranks among the league leaders in slugging percentage (second, .632), RBI (third, 41) and home runs (tied for third, 12).

        Wily Mo Pena went 2-for-3 Friday in Chattanooga's 14-5 loss at Carolina. Pena is batting .300 with five homers and 16 RBI.

        At Single-A Stockton, Dustin Moseley (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing five runs in six innings Friday in a 5-2 loss to Bakersfield. Moseley has a 2.86 ERA.

        UP NEXT: Today is the finale of a three-game series with Atlanta and the final regular-season game against the Braves.

        Elmer Dessens (3-3, 2.78 ERA) starts for the Reds. The right-hander ranks eighth in the National League in ERA. He suffered defeats in his first three starts of the year, but is 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his eight starts since. Dessens struggled in his last start, giving up four runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision Tuesday at Florida.

        Left-hander Damian Moss (2-1, 2.63) starts for Atlanta. He will be making his first career appearance against the Reds. Moss, who began his pro career in 1994 and didn't reach the majors until last year, has secured a spot in the rotation. Opponents are batting just .204 against him.


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