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TeamBoone
01-25-2006, 07:34 PM
01/25/2006 2:58 PM ET
Around the Horn: Corner Infielders
Encarnacion, Aurilia vie for opportunity to throw to Dunn
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Will it be the young guy or the experienced veteran manning the hot corner for the Reds in 2006?

Deciding between Edwin Encarnacion and Rich Aurilia is just one of the decisions manager Jerry Narron will be mulling over during Spring Training.

Encarnacion made his Major League debut last July and played in 69 games after Cincinnati dealt away veteran third baseman Joe Randa. In 211 at-bats, he batted .232 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs.

"Last season was a great experience for him," Narron said. "He did a lot of good things for us. He showed us he can play at the Major League level. He's just got to be consistent."

The Reds feel the 23-year-old Encarnacion has the chance to be a solid offensive player and they like his defensive range. But because his throwing accuracy and mechanics need work, new bench coach and former big league infielder Bucky Dent will be working with him in Spring Training.

"We're very high on Eddie," Reds interim general manager Brad Kullman said. "Hopefully, he'll come to Spring Training and grab that job. It's his to take."

If not, Encarnacion could begin the season in Triple-A Louisville, which would open the door for Aurilia. The 34-year-old returned to the fold as a free agent Jan. 8 after signing a one-year, $1.3 million contract.

"When we bring guys up from the Minor Leagues, I really want them to earn it," Narron said. "I don't want to bring guys out of Spring Training who aren't ready. Having Richie back gives us a lot of options. Eddie's going to have to play well to move in front of him."

Aurilia batted .282 with 14 home runs and 68 RBIs in 114 games last season. He opened the year as the regular shortstop, but ended up spending most of his time at second base and third after the emergence of All-Star Felipe Lopez. Even if the veteran wins the starting third base job, he'll be used around the infield.

"Anytime you have multiple-position guys, it's a big help," Narron said. "Richie did a nice job for us in a lot of different roles. We look for him to do the same thing for us this season."

Utilityman Ryan Freel, who started at five different positions last season, could also see some time at the hot corner.

Whoever plays third will be throwing the ball to a new first baseman this year, as longtime mainstay Sean Casey was dealt to Pittsburgh in December. It helped clear a four-man outfield logjam, since Adam Dunn will be shifted from left field to first base.

There's no doubt as to what Dunn will bring to the position from an offensive standpoint. The lefty hitter batted .247 with 40 home runs and 101 RBIs in 2005, giving him back-to-back 40-homer, 100-RBI campaigns.

Dunn filled in at first base for an injured Casey at the very end of last season, and he started out as a first baseman in high school, but he doesn't have much experience at the position. The 26-year-old decided to skip playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic to improve his defensive abilities

"He's got work to do to get back any skills he may have had," said Kullman, also the Reds director of baseball operations. "Just because he played there in high school before he was signed doesn't mean he's Gold Glove caliber. This will be the focus for him in Spring Training."

Backing up at first base will likely be switch-hitting reserve catcher Javier Valentin. Pinch-hitting specialist Jacob Cruz, who was signed in December to a Minor League deal and invited to camp as a non-roster player, will also see some time at the position.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060125&content_id=1300650&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

WVRedsFan
01-25-2006, 08:01 PM
01/25/2006 2:58 PM ET
"When we bring guys up from the Minor Leagues, I really want them to earn it," Narron said. "I don't want to bring guys out of Spring Training who aren't ready. Having Richie back gives us a lot of options. Eddie's going to have to play well to move in front of him."

This is why Jerry Narron should not be the manager in 2006. EdE needs to be in the lineup for 140 games as the third baseman of the future not only for a good evaluation of his worth at the major league level, but also because Aurilia is only a short-timer (and isn't he 36?). I'm sure Womack will also get playing time ahead of Freel or any other infielder. Veteran players are nice to have in a pennant race, but when the old abilities have deteriorated to the point they have on Aurilia and Womack, they should be bench players and not starters. Of course, we all know that and it's been said often.

The problem is that Narron is the field manager. I hope Castelini feels otherwise and steps in, but I'm still not sure if he's going to meddle in that stuff. We'll see.

Heath
01-25-2006, 08:31 PM
:bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang:

I just can't listen to this drivel from Narron.

Once more for all the newbies -

LET THE KID PLAY - HE'S EITHER GOING TO BE MIKE SCHMIDT OR KELLY PARIS.....

We've got to find out this year. 2006 is the year to find out.

wheels
01-25-2006, 08:39 PM
It sounds to me like a divergence of opinion betwixt Kullman and Narron.

Kullman's quote: "We're high on Eddie...It's his to take".

At least he's got more representation now than he did when DanO was around.

M2
01-25-2006, 08:48 PM
To move in front of him? TO MOVE IN FRONT OF HIM!

WVRedsFan
01-25-2006, 09:00 PM
To move in front of him? TO MOVE IN FRONT OF HIM!

So much for the Lindner-O'Brien-Narron brain trust of which Kullman is part. I totally missed that part of the article. Wow. Kullman is officially off my list for GM.

kbrake
01-25-2006, 09:06 PM
So much for the Lindner-O'Brien-Narron brain trust of which Kullman is part. I totally missed that part of the article. Wow. Kullman is officially off my list for GM.


All Kullman said was that it was EdE's to take, it was Narron that said he would have to play well to step in front of Rich. I am kind of hoping that they stick with Kullman, although that could just be due to a lack of knowledge towards the other candidates.

KronoRed
01-26-2006, 02:31 AM
3rd base is Aurilia's, only injury can prevent that.

Aronchis
01-26-2006, 02:52 AM
3rd base is Aurilia's, only injury can prevent that.

Aurilia may not even make the opening day roster.

kheidg-
01-26-2006, 03:02 AM
Aurilia may not even make the opening day roster.

Aurilia will be on the opening day roster barring an injury. I'd love to see him gone but with the way Narron is talking even a .058 batting average during ST will net Aurilia 3rd base.

WMR
01-26-2006, 03:13 AM
Kullman seems smart and he obviously wants this job so I don't think he'll be above TELLING Narron to play EdE if he needs to.

WVRedsFan
01-26-2006, 03:33 AM
Kullman seems smart and he obviously wants this job so I don't think he'll be above TELLING Narron to play EdE if he needs to.

My guess is that Kullman will be long gone before that decision has to be made. And the official line is Narron "nearly finished .500 when he took over last year." Why would you question the man when he's had such great success? :evil:

pedro
01-26-2006, 03:39 AM
Ok, I've defended Narron a few times, but this is just BS. Off with his head I say!

KronoRed
01-26-2006, 07:03 AM
Ok, I've defended Narron a few times, but this is just BS. Off with his head I say!
http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/cas/images/me48g.jpg

buckeyenut
01-26-2006, 07:27 AM
Aurilia will be on the opening day roster barring an injury. I'd love to see him gone but with the way Narron is talking even a .058 batting average during ST will net Aurilia 3rd base.

I don't have a problem with Aurillia being on the opening day roster. It is Womack I have a problem with being on the roster. That said, I can live with both being there as long as they are used properly. EE has to start at 3B until he proves he cannot handle the job (which means worse than his ML numbers last year). Aurillia is insurance there. Pending a move in the OF, Freel probably should be starting at 2B, although I could live with Aurillia starting there and Freel playing 5 days at week at all positions in a supersub role. The key for me is that Aurillia needs to be in the lineup lower than the following players. Jr, Dunn, Freel, Pena, Kearns, Lopez. So he should probably never bat higher than 6 or 7. I can live with him hitting above LaRue and EE, but I think both of those guys ought to go higher too.

If in the lineup, Aurillia ought to bat eighth, maybe seventh once in a while. If Womack is in the lineup, he should be batting eighth for sure. And the two should rarely if ever play together, pending injuries. My real fear is that we'll see a lineup with Womack leading off and Aurillia batting second, without any injuries keeping people out. That is the Narron I fear.

zombie-a-go-go
01-26-2006, 07:28 AM
3rd base is Aurilia's, only injury can prevent that.

Maybe we can hope that he beats out Felipe for SS again? :evil:

Jpup
01-26-2006, 07:35 AM
Can we start the "Fire Jerry Narron" threads now?;)

KronoRed
01-26-2006, 07:37 AM
Can we start the "Fire Jerry Narron" threads now?;)
I think we had a few last year :D

zombie-a-go-go
01-26-2006, 07:38 AM
I think we had a few last year :D

Let's wait until Opening Day. Until then, this is just so much bloviating.

KronoRed
01-26-2006, 07:43 AM
Let's wait until Opening Day. Until then, this is just so much bloviating.
When you see this lineup for opening day

Womack
Aurilia
Lopez
JR
Dunn
Pena
LaRue
Kearns
Milton

Then you will see the light ;)

Ron Madden
01-26-2006, 07:56 AM
I Hope and Pray Edwin jumps out to a fast start.

I'm tired of hearing about "Richie"