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reds44
06-06-2006, 01:56 AM
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ST. LOUIS -- It looks like Bronson Arroyo could be sharing catcher David Ross with others in the Reds rotation.
Manager Jerry Narron had been seeking to reward Ross' solid play with more time behind the plate. On Monday, Ross started against the Cardinals, catching for Brandon Claussen.

Ross has caught all 12 of Arroyo's starts and was making his 17th start overall.

"I'm sure [Narron] put a lot of thought into it," said Ross, who had never caught Claussen. "We've got three good catchers on this team. Right now, I'm swinging the bat well. I'm sure if somebody else is, they'll get more playing time. I don't think it's anything permanent. Maybe he's going with his gut."

Ross entered the game with an eight-game hitting streak and was 10-for-20 (.500) over the stretch. He was batting .333 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 22 games this season. Contributing to the decision to start Ross, no doubt, was that regular catcher Jason LaRue has been stuck in an 0-for-26 slump. Also, Narron wanted to change things up in an effort to help an inconsistent Claussen.

This was not necessarily a prelude to a bigger role for Ross.

"I don't really know if [his role] has increased or not," Narron said. "I'm catching him tonight. But he's played extremely well. He's given us some very good at-bats and done a good job."

One of those good plate appearances came at Houston on Sunday, when Ross was used as a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning. The 29-year-old fell into an 0-2 count to reliever Dan Wheeler before working a nine-pitch walk. It led to Ryan Freel's game-winning two-run homer in a 6-4 victory.

"The first two pitches kind of got on me quick after coming off the bench," Ross said. "That pinch-hitting stuff isn't easy. I got to foul a couple off before I really felt comfortable. It took about four pitches before I was into the at-bat. By that time, I had seen his pitches. He ended up walking me, and Freel came up big for us."

As for LaRue, who is batting .171 this season, Narron offered a vote of confidence.

"He'll get hot again," Narron said. "It's just a matter of when he does it. It was about this time last year when he got hot."

The numbers back that theory. Last year, LaRue batted .237 through April and May before batting .304 over June and July and .260 overall for the season.

No rest: Right fielder Austin Kearns was supposed to get an off-day Sunday, but he talked his way back into Narron's lineup. Kearns must have known something good was going to happen -- he hit two homers in the game.

"I told him if he got five hits, I'd ask him next time before he was going to get a day off," Narron said. "I guess two home runs means I'll still ask him."

Farm report: Left-hander Phil Dumatrait, one of the organization's better pitching prospects earned a promotion from Double-A Chattanooga Sunday and debuted in a start for Triple-A Louisville against Scranton-Wilkes Barre on Monday.

Dumatrait, 24, was 3-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 10 starts for Chattanooga this season.

Pomp and circumstance: Narron will miss Friday's home game against the Cubs because he's returning home to North Carolina for daughter Clare's high school graduation. Bench coach Bucky Dent will fill in as manager for the game.

Coming up: Eric Milton (3-2, 4.89 ERA) will start for Cincinnati against St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter (4-2, 2.63 ERA) in Tuesday's 8:10 p.m. ET game at Busch Stadium.




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