View Full Version : Encarnacion lost close friend when Lopez was traded

07-15-2006, 01:05 PM

Overlooked in Thursday's trade was the fact that Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion lost a clubhouse friend and mentor when shortstop Felipe Lopez was sent to Washington.

"We are close," Encarnacion said. "He told me, 'Keep working hard, keep getting better. We're going our separate ways, but we'll keep pulling for one another.' I'm going to miss him. He was good for me. We talked a lot. We had a lot of fun. But that's just the way it is."

Encarnacion's stab of a rocket off the bat of the Rockies' Garrett Atkins in the sixth inning Thursday night - only two batters after Todd Helton hit a two-run homer off Eric Milton to cut the Reds' lead to 4-3 - was a huge play. It was reminiscent of the kind of plays Buddy Bell made here routinely in the 1980s.

The Reds are hopeful that Encarnacion, 23, will continue to get better defensively.

But a legitimate question is how patient the Reds will be - after all, Lopez's 14 errors this season are a big reason he's no longer here.

There's no way the Reds are going to trade Encarnacion's bat, but there are some observers who foresee him being moved to first base someday.
It happened to Albert Pujols in St. Louis making room for Scott Rolen at third, and it happened to Tony Perez here in 1972, after the Reds traded first baseman Lee May to Houston in a package deal that included Joe Morgan coming here.

"I like it at third base and I feel like it's my best position," Encarnacion said. "I know I have to get more consistent."

BELISLE BEDEVILED: Reds reliever Matt Belisle, who potentially could be a big piece of the bullpen if he could get his back fixed, was back on the disabled list Friday with a recurrence of a disc problem. He received an epidural Friday morning.

"That's pretty much immediate relief," Belisle said. "I'd had one prior to the first DL stint. The (problem) isn't as bad as it was last time, in Chicago ... I felt like an epidural was a way to nip it in the bud this time. But I still need to rest it."

One problem is that Belisle does not know what he did to aggravate it. He keeps a daily log of his activities so he can figure out what might be causing the problem, but he can't find a correlation, he said.

With Belisle on the DL, retroactive to last Monday, the Reds had to make only two roster moves to make room for their two new relief pitchers and shortstop. They optioned William Bergolla to Louisville and designated relief pitcher Esteban Yan for assignment.

That means the Reds must trade or release Yan within 10 days or put him on waivers.

"I hope it doesn't take 10 days," Yan said. "I want to pitch. I was surprised to hear it was me. I got off to a good start, then had a rough spot, but I thought I pitched well the last few times out. I'll miss these guys. I'm sure I'll be watching them (on TV) here in Cincinnati until somebody picks me up, I hope."

MASH: Reds trainer Mark Mann said Ryan Freel (right shoulder) is available to pinch-hit/pinch-run and play an inning or two defensively if needed. He will be re-evaluated after Monday's off-day. ... David Ross (lower abdominal strain) can also pinch-hit. ... Paul Wilson had a good start for Single-A Sarasota Friday afternoon: six innings, two runs, nine hits, one walk and one strikeout. ... Brandon Claussen was scheduled to start for Triple-A Louisville Friday night, but the game was postponed because of rain. ERIC

THE GREAT: The Reds claimed off waivers Friday somebody with famous Reds connections, and optioned him to Louisville. That would be outfielder Brandon Watson, the godson for former Reds center fielder Eric Davis.

Watson started the season with the Washington Nationals and appeared in nine games. With 165 stolen bases in eight minor-league seasons, he has shown he has some of his godfather's speed.

07-15-2006, 03:47 PM
Yan- "I'm sure I'll be watching them (on TV) here in Cincinnati until somebody picks me up, I hope."

Unlikely. cough.. cough.. Fox Sports, cough.. cough..