Did anyone else see the artical that says Rich is likely to be signed by the Sunday deadline?


Rich Aurilia apparently will return to the Reds after all.

Aurilia's agent, Barry Axelrod, sounded optimistic Tuesday.

"I think the Reds are our most viable alternative," Axelrod said. "We've talked to some other clubs, but those have been contingent discussions."

The sides have a Sunday deadline hanging over them. If they can't work out a deal by then, Aurilia can't re-sign with the Reds until May 1.

"Both sides are trying to get it done," Reds general manager Dan O'Brien said.

Aurilia, 34, hit .282 with 14 home runs and 68 RBI in 114 games with the Reds last season. He led the club with a .343 average with runners in scoring position.

Both sides declined to exercise the option on Aurilia's contract. The Reds then offered Aurilia arbitration. He refused it Dec. 19, thereby extending to Jan. 8 the deadline to sign him

Aurilia's defensive flexibility - he can play shortstop, second base or third base - would give the Reds many options.

Aurilia's role is his main concern, and he has talked to Reds manager Jerry Narron about that.

"Jerry has talked to Rich," O'Brien said. "I don't want to speak for Jerry, but he outlined the way he intends to use the roster. It was a good conversation."

Aurilia would add to the crowd at second base. Ryan Freel and Tony Womack are already set to compete for time there.

But Aurilia also gives the Reds insurance at third. Edwin Encarnacion, 22, is slated to start there. If Encarnacion were to struggle, Aurilia could take over.