Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Notes: Club's playing short-handed

Seeking replacement on roster for disabled Larson

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Photos of Tuesday's game
PHOENIX - The Reds have been figuratively short-handed since the spate of trades and injuries that happened just after the All-Star break.

Tuesday, they were literally short-handed. The Reds did not fill the roster spot opened Monday when Brandon Larson was placed on the disabled list in time for Tuesday's series opener with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"We're looking outside the organization," assistant general manager Brad Kullman said. "I thought we'd have something done. Unfortunately, we're no closer than we were (Monday)."

If the Reds can't get something done outside, they'll bring up a player from Louisville for today's game - probably Ryan Freel or Wilton Guerrero.

Kullman wouldn't say whom the Reds are pursuing outside the organization. Veteran shortstop Benji Gil is available. Gil, 30, was released by the Anaheim Angels Monday.

Gil is a career .237 hitter. But he hit .296 in 2001 and .285 in 2002 for the Angels.

"We were looking at something that could help us for the future," Kullman said. "We're looking for a viable solution."

Another possibility would be veteran Todd Ziele, who was released by the New York Yankees last week.

Playing a man short did affect the Reds' plans for Tuesday.

Manager Dave Miley chose not to start Barry Larkin, who hasn't played in a week since he aggravated scar tissue around the hernia he had repaired two years ago. He was supposed to return Tuesday.

But if Larkin had started and had to leave the game, the Reds would have had only one backup infielder on the bench.

"I'd be more apt to start him (if we weren't a player short)," Miley said. "If something happened and Lark had to leave the game, we don't have a backup. We're looking at playing (Jason) LaRue at third."

MORAL VICTORY: Sean Casey won a batting title of sorts Tuesday. Casey hit a fair ball against softball sensation Jennie Finch.

"It would have been a hard groundout," Casey said. "But it's a moral victory."

Finch, a former University of Arizona player, does a spot on This Week in Baseball in which she pitches to big-leaguers.

Before Tuesday, only Anaheim's Scott Spiezio had hit a fair ball, but that was after Spiezio had struck out.

"He asked for an extra pitch," said Casey, who hit the second pitch he saw.

Casey did strike out on his second try.

"I had no chance," he said. "Her stuff is nasty - 900-mile-an-hour risers."

Finch struck out Danny Graves on three pitches and LaRue on four.

DAVIS BACK: The Reds re-instated left-hander Lance Davis to the Triple-A Louisville roster.

Davis was jailed last week after failing to appear for a court hearing on a domestic violence charge.

"He said (not appearing) was miscommunication," Kullman said. "He got that worked out. This is not new. He's been dealing with this awhile. We'll let it play out in the courts."

BIG UNIT LINEUP: Miley said he doesn't plan to rest any left-handers with lefty ace Randy Johnson pitching tonight for Arizona.

Former manager Bob Boone rested Casey against Johnson.

But Casey is 2-for-8 against Johnson. The only other Reds with more than two hits off Johnson are Larkin (4-for-23) and D'Angelo Jimenez (3-for-14).

A good candidate to rest is LaRue, who is 0-for-6 - all strikeouts.

FARM REPORT: Charlie Manning, the left-hander obtained in the Aaron Boone trade with the New York Yankees, had another good outing in Potomac's 7-4 victory over Kinston. Manning allowed two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He is 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA since the trade.



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