Sunday, August 17, 2003

Reds notebook: Prized lefty done for season


Claussen likely to be in '04 rotation

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PHOTO GALLERY

Photos of Saturday's game
The Reds have shut down prized left-handed starting pitcher Brandon Claussen for the season.

It wasn't anything Claussen did, but rather what the Reds wanted to make sure he didn't do: over-extend himself, especially if he were to have made his Reds debut this season.

Claussen's arrival on the mound at Great American Ball Park next year is already much anticipated, because he's the guy the Reds acquired last month in the trade of popular third baseman Aaron Boone to the New York Yankees.

Claussen had elbow ligament-replacement surgery June 25, 2002. Normally it takes almost two full seasons to recover from that surgery and regain one's pitching "feel." But Claussen looked good this summer.

"My innings and my pitch count were getting to the point where I was getting in that red zone, so we felt like it was a better fit if I shut it down now and got ready for next year," Claussen said.

He said he wasn't disappointed that he wouldn't get to make his Reds debut this year.

"As long as I had a chance to play baseball (this summer), I was happy," he said. "Last year at this time I had a cast on my arm and was wondering if I was ever going to play again."

Claussen said surgery robbed him of a few miles per hour off his fastball, "but I felt I was able to overcome that and answer the bell every fifth day."

He said he'd like to put on about 10 pounds this offseason to get up to 200. He was in Cincinnati with his wife, who laughed when it was suggested it was up to her to add double figures to her husband's frame.

"I've got a tough job ahead of myself," she said.

It isn't known if she was disparaging her cooking or her husband's metabolism.

GROUND-RULE THIS: Dernell Stenson, who got his first major-league start Saturday because of Adam Dunn's sprained thumb, took advantage.

He went 3-for-4 with an asterisk. The first of those hits - a ground-rule double to left field that should have been called a home run - was his first big-league hit.

The umpire ruled fan interference, but the replay showed the fan in the left-field seats never touched the ball - although he was reaching for it. The ball bounced back onto the field.

A home run there would have tied the game at 2.

Reds manager Dave Miley came out to argue for a home run - "I saw what you guys saw," he said - but conceded it was a tough call.

"I'd like to have the ball, but I'm not going to try to hunt it down," said Stenson, smiling, unaffected that he'd missed out on having his first big-league hit being a home run.

Stenson doubled in the seventh and singled in the ninth.

---

E-mail jerardi@enquirer.com




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