Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Notes: Promotion surprises Sardinha

Catcher replaces Stinnett on roster

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MILWAUKEE - Dane Sardinha was packing in Chattanooga. Monday was supposed to be the day he flew home to Hawaii.

Instead, Sardinha headed for the big leagues.

Sardinha, the Reds' second round pick in 2000, was called up to take the spot on the roster vacated by Kelly Stinnett, who was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I was a little bit surprised," Sardinha said. "Well, more than a little bit. I was a lot surprised."

Sardinha hit .256 with three home runs, 32 RBI and five stolen bases in 72 games for Chattanooga. He overcame a slow start to get his numbers to there.

One factor: Sardinha was coming off a left knee injury. He tore the lateral collateral ligament in a collision at home during spring training.

He didn't have surgery, but he rehabbed until May 15.

Sardinha, 24, was poised to have a breakout year offensively. He hit .311 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 28 games in the Arizona Fall League. His defensive skills were major league quality when the Reds drafted him. If he hits, he'll play a long time in the big leagues. The knee injury was a major step back.

"It was disappointing," Sardinha said. "I felt I had made progress going into spring training. Then I had to take two months off. When I came back, my timing was off."

Still, hitting .256 this year at Chattanooga was a major step forward for Sardinha, who hit .205 there the year before.

"I think I've improved offensively," Sardinha said. "I'm not where I want to be. I've still got a lot to learn."

Sardinha signed a major league contract after he was drafted. His situation is similar to Wily Mo Pena's. Sardinha will have to spend all of 2005 on the 25-man roster, or the Reds will risk losing him through waivers.

CASEY LEAVES: Sean Casey left Monday's game after singling in the fifth inning, when he tweaked his sore left groin muscle.

"It was tight the whole game," Casey said. "I even felt it when I would run to cover first."

Casey is listed as day-to-day.

JIMENEZ SITS: D'Angelo Jimenez was out of the starting lineup for Monday's game. Jimenez had started 48 of 49 games since joining the Reds July 6 after a trade from the Chicago White Sox.

"He needed a day," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "He was also 1-for-9 off (Milwaukee starter Wayne) Franklin."

Jimenez entered the game as part of a double switch in the eighth and popped out.

WILSON STAYS: The way Paul Wilson has pitched lately - 2-2 with a 2.29 ERA over his last six starts - it's surprising that he's still a Red.

"There wasn't a lot of interest in him even at the (non-waiver) deadline," Reds assistant general manager Brad Kullman said. "I don't think it's because teams thought he wasn't a quality pitcher, because a lot of teams were jealous when we signed him and he's pitched well this year."

Wilson's contract is for $500,000 in 2003, and $3.5 million in 2004.

"I don't know that we would have been interested in moving him," Kullman said. "He's a class act and a leader. He'll be a big part of the team next year."

AUGUST NUMBERS: Jimenez led the Reds with four home runs and tied for the lead with 12 RBI in August. Sean Casey also had 12 RBI. Barry Larkin hit .359 for the month. The club hit .227 in August and averaged 3.07 runs per game.

UP NEXT: The Reds play the second game of the three-game series against the Brewers tonight at 8:05. Right-hander Paul Wilson (8-10, 4.62 ERA) faces right-hander Wes Obermueller (0-4, 4.71).

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Notes: Promotion surprises Sardinha
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Twins acquire Orosco from Yankees
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Sports on TV, radio

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