Ross' numbers are a surprise
By Hal McCoy
CINCINNATI | There is nothing in catcher David Ross's case history that says he should be hitting .342 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs in 79 at-bats this season for the Cincinnati Reds.
You can look it up.
2003 — Los Angeles, 86 at-bats, .258, 10 homers, 18 RBIs.
2004 — Los Angeles, 165 at-bats, .170, 5 homers, 15 RBIs.
2005 — Pittsburgh, 108 at-bats, .222, 3 homers, 15 RBIs.
Asked if it might be natural for a 29-year-old player with three years in the majors to suddenly blossom into something special, manager Jerry Narron answered in the negative.
"Not very often," said Narron. "Usually there are guys in the minors who have never done anything offensively, but they come to the big leagues and they are better, for whatever reason.
"A lot of it is that he has never had a chance to play on a regular basis," Narron added. "I don't know a lot about his past history, other than his numbers, but he might feel real comfortable here. He knows he has a chance to play if he plays well. He knew coming in he would play once out of every five days and he took advantage of that."
Now he plays more than Jason LaRue and more than Javier Valentin, who catches every fifth day when fellow Latino Elizardo Ramirez pitches.
"What I have to do is find a spot for Jason LaRue and get him back out there," said Narron. "The way Ross has been playing makes it tough to get Ross out of there — that's pretty obvious."
Kearns just resting
Even though he left a game Friday with a mild hamstring strain after trying to make a catch, right fielder Austin Kearns was not out Wednesday's lineup due to pain and suffering.
Kearns is OK, nothing to do with a sore leg.
"Just giving him a couple of days off (the team is off today) and then go get 'em," said Narron.
It is his bat that doesn't need a rest. It has been resting. Kearns is hitting .136 (3-22 with one double) on the first seven games of the homestand. It was only the fourth start he has missed this season.
Heinz 57 varieties
For those who have asked, and many have, Narron's lineup cards officially became associated with Heinz on Wednesday. In 66 games he has used 57 different lineup/batting order combinations, a veritable Heinz 57 varieties.
Relief pitcher David Weathers, who walked off the mound Sunday after four pitches with shoulder tightness, is expected to be ready and able in the bullpen Friday when the Reds open a three-game interleague homestand against the World Series champion Chicago White Sox.
Meanwhile, disabled bullpenner Matt Belisle (strained lower back) makes a rehabilitation appearance (two innings) tonight at Fifth Third Field for the Class A Dayton Dragons.
Johns throws strike
Army corporal Eric Johns, a Dayton native who served in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003 with the famous 82nd Airborne Division, threw out Wednesday's ceremonial first pitch as part of Army Day in Cincinnati. Johns is a lifelong Reds' fan.
He threw a strike to Reds outfielder Austin Kearns.