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.
|Vander Wal ||.143||.182||42||2||6||2||0||2||4||2||17||0||0||0|
|Team Totals ||.252||.333||4326||595||1090||228||19||159||566||469||1020||56||20||83|
|Van Poppel ||3||5||6.11||32||10||0||94.1||111||65||64||16||20||60|
|Team Totals ||61||66||5.16||127||127||39||1130.2||1251||703||648||175||423||752|
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