3 homers not enough for Narron
By Hal McCoy
Dayton Daily News
SARASOTA, Fla. — It isn't that Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron is unappreciative of outstanding accomplishments, sometimes he is a tough critic, and admits it.
For instance, how about those three home runs in two games by third baseman Edwin Encarnacion?
"I was disappointed he struck out with the bases loaded (on a 3-and-2 pitch) against the Yankees Sunday," said Narron. "That's when he has to put the ball in play."
Narron paused and smiled.
"I guess that's kind of nit-picking of a guy who hit three home runs in two days," he said. "He is having a good spring. He is an intelligent kid. He hit two homers (Friday against the Twins) and his second homer was a great at-bat. He fouled off several good pitches before he homered."
What Narron likes most is that he saw Encarnacion when he was 18 years old, a year after he signed with Texas, Narron's first year as manager of the Rangers.
"We put him out there with major-league players and from the first day he stepped on the field he showed poise and confidence and wasn't intimated," said Narron. "And he hasn't changed one bit since that day."
Paul Wilson calls it a roller coaster ride, "And we're past the big hill, but we still have some small hills, corkscrews and loop-de-loops left."
Wilson threw 50 warm-up pitches Sunday morning, then 30 pitches to coach Mike Stefanski, "And he took me deep (homers) twice, he really did," said Wilson.
"That's exaggerated," said Stefanski. "I took 10 swings and hit two good."
Wilson is on the same program as if he is part of a five-day rotation — pitch, rest a day, play long-toss and do light throwing on the third day, take the fourth day off, then throw 80 or so pitches as if it was a game.
"We want Paul back on April 1," said manager Jerry Narron. "If he can't make it April 1, then April 2. If not April 2, then April 3."
In other words, there is not timetable for Wilson as he attempts to come back from shoulder surgery.
The magic of Yogi
Manager Jerry Narron enjoyed seeing Yogi Berra at Legends Field when the Reds played the New York Yankees Sunday and said, "I tried to rub up against him a few times for luck. The guy has appeared in more World Series games than anybody in history."
Narron said Berra showed up for a game Narron managed the Texas Rangers and he told Lee Stevens, "Try to rub up against Yogi. He might be the luckiest baseball player in the world with all those World Series appearances.
Stevens was a doubter, but playfully bumped against Yogi before the game, making certain Narron saw it, to appease him.
"True story. Stevens hit three home runs that night," said Narron. Milton is antsy
Pitcher Eric Milton is restless to face hitters, but he still feels some grabbiness in his calf, which he injured during stretching exercises while running backwards.
He threw eight minutes on the side Sunday and said, "I have no problems throwing. But I can feel the calf pull. As long as I feel something, they won't let me face hitters because they won't it to completely heal so it doesn't linger.
Milton hopes he'll pitch Tuesday, "Because I need to face some hitters and not fall too far behind."
Dunn in left
With left fielder Wily Mo Pena off to the World Baseball Classic, it gave Narron an opportunity Sunday to move first baseman Adam Dunn back to left field and insert Scott Hatteberg at first base — something that could be seen a few times during the season.
"Hatteberg gives us a guy who will give you a good at-bat every time an d put the ball in play," said Narron. "I'm going to do everything I can to keep Hatteberg sharp if he is going to help us."