Sunday, April 27, 2003

Reds' Minor League Notebook

Prospect to have shoulder examined

By Kevin Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Reds pitching prospect Chris Gruler is expected to have his ailing right shoulder examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek Monday to determine whether surgery is needed.

"At this point they're going to talk and figure it out," said Tim Naehring, Reds director of player development.

Gruler, whom the Reds selected with the third overall pick in last year's draft and signed for a $2.5 million bonus, began experiencing weakness in his shoulder last season. He was put on a program of rest and strengthening before coming back to pitch for Class-A Dayton.

In three starts at Dayton this season, Gruler allowed 17 earned runs, walked 12 and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings.

"One thing that happens a lot of times when you see an injury in the shoulder is not so much a loss of velocity but loss of command of his pitches," Naehring said. "I think Chris himself realized that the command we saw as an amateur wasn't there. It's very disheartening."

COMEBACK TRAIL: Veteran Jose Rijo has pitched in two extended spring training games and could be moved to the minors soon.

"He's been throwing the ball fairly well," Naehring said. "He's really right on schedule. if not a little ahead. It's just a matter now of throwing a couple more times in Florida and figuring out the proper steps to get him back to the major leagues."

Rijo, 37, is trying to come back after his sixth elbow surgery since 1995. He had a bone spur removed from his right elbow March 11.

PAST HISTORY: The Reds claimed pitching prospect Eric Cyr off waivers from the Angels on Wednesday and assigned him to Double-A Chattanooga. In 22 innings with Double-A Arkansas this season, he was 1-2, with a 5.40 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 22 innings.

Cyr made news off the field in December 2001 when he pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor charge of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in an airplane lavatory during a flight from Australia.

According to the North County (Calif.) Times, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and one year probation.

SHORT HOPS: Triple-A Louisville outfielder Jacob Cruz ranks among the International League leaders in batting with a .375 average. ... Class-A Potomac closer Nathan Cotton, whose 34 saves last season led the organization, is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and three saves through his first seven games.

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