Janish, Szymanski most likely to be promoted
By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Let's play a game.

Who will be the first Dayton Dragons to be promoted this season, and not just because somebody is hurt at a higher rung in the Reds organization?

My guess is shortstop Paul Janish and outfielder B.J. Szymanski.

While we're at it, I'll tell you why it shouldn't matter if they're promoted this year at all.

The idea, after all, is the get to Cincinnati, not Sarasota (Class A), Chattanooga (Class AA) or Louisville (Class AAA).

Still, players would like to make it out of "low" Class A Dayton, if for no other reason than to brag to their friends back home how much closer they are to the majors.

Janish and Szymanski would be closer had not injuries cut into their 2005 seasons. Both needed more at-bats, and it was decided to give them more with the Dragons.

Janish is a major-league-fielding shortstop right now.

"He makes plays," Dragons manager Billy Gardner Jr. said. "He's sure-handed. He has a strong arm. The big thing for me is, he can make an athletic move."

Gardner calls Janish "a thinker," too.

"Instinct is something you can't teach," Gardner said. "They get better the more you play. Paul prepares himself well. He does things you do before your head figures out what you've done.

"And, he's impressed me with the bat."

You can get impressed with a .390 batting average, which Janish was hitting as the Dragons opened a four-game home stand Monday night.

Janish is 23, so you don't want him sitting in Dayton too long.

Szymanski is also 23, and with obvious talents, at least one the casual fan might miss until Gardner points it out.

"I like to watch the guy run," Gardner said. "He can go from first to home on a double. He's a gifted player."

Szymanski, who played most of April with a sub-.200 batting average, has hit .375 over the 10 games prior to Monday night and .409 over his previous five games. He also hit three homers and knocked in seven runs in those five games.

In other words, he is what the Reds thought they were getting when they drafted him No. 2 in 2004.

Five hours prior to game time, Fifth Third Field groundskeeper Dan Ochsner and his crew dug a trench in the dirt behind home plate and just in front of the stands more than 50 feet long, a foot and a half wide and a foot and a half deep looking for a faulty irrigation valve.

"We had to shut off the water because the infield system wouldn't turn off," Ochsner said. "We haven't found the valve yet, so we'll have to cap the infield system in order to turn the water back on and hose the field."

Or, they could have left the ditch and left warning signs for catchers chasing pop fouls.

As a member of the Australian National Team, relief pitcher Wayne Lundgren had to undergo a drug test Monday, administered by the U.S. Anti-doping agency in Indianapolis.