Sunday, August 29, 2004

Reds notebook

Vander Wal hurting

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

Because he wants to contribute, John Vander Wal continues to spend much of his time in the Reds' training and weight rooms.

The veteran utility man, who is seven months removed from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, suffered a setback while playing defense Aug. 11 and has been limited to pinch-hitting duty since.

"I don't think I did anything major," Vander Wal said. "I just think I broke the strength down again.

"I'm working on getting the strength back, which is a pain in the (rear)."

THE ROAD BACK: Reds closer Danny Graves threw on flat ground Saturday for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms. Eligible to come off the DL on Friday, Graves will long toss Monday.

"They had to babysit me and tell me to stop because I felt so good," Graves said. "It's the first day of throwing, so the best thing to do is take it easy and stick with the throwing program."

PLATE COVERAGE: It was no coincidence that Reds catchers Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin spent several minutes Saturday afternoon practicing blocking the plate.

Earlier in the day, during a game between the Cardinals and Pirates, Pittsburgh third baseman Ty Wigginton bowled over St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in a vicious home-plate collision. Molina did hold onto the ball for the out.

"How many plays like that do you get in a game? Not a lot," Valentin said. "But if it happens in a game, we'll be ready."

MINOR MATTERS: In his 11th start for Triple-A Louisville, Dustin Moseley threw seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 win against Toledo on Friday. Moseley allowed two hits, struck out three and walked two.

Double-A Chattanooga first baseman Jesse Gutierrez, third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, utility player William Bergolla and pitcher Brian Rose were named to the Southern League's year-end All-Star team.

Single-A Dayton outfielder Chris Dickerson was selected to the Midwest League's year-end All-Star team.

PITCHING CHANGE: The Diamondbacks will start Edgar Gonzalez against the Reds today. Stephen Randolph was scratched with stiffness in his left shoulder.

Gonzalez is 0-7 with an 8.74 ERA in seven starts this season. He is the first NL pitcher to start a season 0-7 since Murry Dickson did so with the Cardinals in 1947.

Josh Hancock will be making his fourth start for the Reds.

Hancock, acquired from the Phillies in the Todd Jones deal, is 3-0 with a 4.19 ERA. He is coming off back-to-back strong outings against the Cardinals.

REDS FACT: Entering Saturday, 400 major-leaguers had hit a sacrifice fly this season, including Reds pitcher Jose Acevedo. Adam Dunn, with 80 RBI, was not one of them.

Reds statistics

(Through Friday)

Casey .337.3934428214940221823828106
Larkin .304.35431654961537422636204
Dunn .275.40244384122260388089149415
Freel .273.37739553108155122566828812
Jimenez .260.35645058117202105066771176
Griffey .253.351300497618020604467101
Pena .253.30528936738122571796416
LaRue .251.334323418118213422386028
Castro .245.27624529601923191141108
Lopez .241.30513719331104171242009
Cruz .240.3241211829703241134000
Valentin .217.2771571534715161327004
Larson .212.3041181325603141435105
Kearns .208.3281011321313131735111
Bragg .191.25547793024417000
Romano .154.21426340013210000
Vander Wal .143.18242262024217000
Team Totals .252.33343265951090228191595664691020562083

Hudson 113.6333017.118871712
Graves 154.096103761.2683328121138
Harang 864.1422220128.113561591143101
Norton 134.50560054.056312742636
Wilson 944.5423230142.21577672225192
Riedling 434.57560063.066403273233
Wagner 214.57390041.145252142526
Claussen 235.1488042.043272462023
Hancock 315.72105028.136201891115
Van Poppel 356.113210094.11116564162060
Acevedo 5106.2127230130.11559390244099
White 116.37290029.230212111425
Valentine 137.7181111.21110102128
Matthews 218.84220018.12319186108
Team Totals 61665.16127127391130.21251703648175423752

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