Three catchers on roster no problem for Narron
By Hal McCoy
CLEVELAND | Jerry Narron was absorbed in a stapled booklet of statistics, his half-glasses in place, his head down, when writers walked into his office Sunday morning.
"Checking out the statistics?" he was asked.
"You noticed that, huh?" Narron said.
What Narron was doing was comparing plate appearances for his three catchers, and what he discovered astounded even him: David Ross 113, Jason LaRue 112, Javier Valentin 111.
"We have three catchers and everybody makes a big deal out of us having three catchers," Narron said. "At some point, you watch, something is going to happen and one catcher is going to have to catch 18 out of 20 games. That will happen."
Narron switched up his catching assignments Sunday, playing Ross instead of Javier Valentin, usually the catcher when fellow Latino Elizardo Ramirez pitches.
"The reason is that there is a left-hander on the mound (Jeremy Sowers), and with Valentin I want to get the best offensive matchup possible," said Narron. "I'm comfortable with all three guys behind the plate, no matter who they catch. Ross has been good against left-handers."
Ross is hitting .414 against left-handers to Valentin's .063 and LaRue's .138. On Sunday, tough, Ross struck out his first three times.
"One of things I've really liked about Javier is the way he has been able to calm down E-Z real quick when he gets in trouble and to keep him focused," said Narron. "But all three guys can do the same thing."
A 10-year deal?
Not only will FSN Ohio televise 145 of the 162 games played by the Reds next season, Fox and the Reds are close to agreement on a 10-year agreement.
Fox is anxious to make the deal, and the Reds are just as anxious to consummate the marriage. Fox lost the Cleveland Indians and dearly wants to keep the Reds. A 10-year deal for the Reds with money up front will give owner Bob Castellini some extra cash to plow into the team.
It is Castellini who wants 145 games on TV a year and is willing to do the 10-year deal if Fox will televise that many games.
TV's good news
Reds manager Jerry Narron broke into a smile when asked if he had watched the St. Louis Cardinals lose to the Detroit Tigers in 10 innings Friday night.
"Yes, sir, I did. And I saw Houston lose to the Chicago White Sox in 10 innings, too. Real nice. Those teams are finding out what we found out, the Tigers and White Sox are pretty good teams," he said.
He sits and waits
Cleveland first baseman Eduardo Perez, with the Reds for three seasons (1996-98), was spotted taking ground balls at first base with a fielder's glove.
Why not a first baseman's mitt?
"I never take infield with a first baseman's glove," he said. "You get lazy if you use that big glove. I never know when I'll be playing another position. Not too long ago I played four straight games in the outfield — and I felt it for a while, but I had two assists."
Being a right-handed platoon player for an American League team puts Perez is a work-shortage situation. With the Tribe, he platoons at first base with another former Red, Ben Broussard. With fewer left-handed starting pitchers, Perez plays fewer games.
"I haven't played in six days, and I've looked at the schedule of probable pitchers and I won't play for another week," he said. And with the designated hitter, AL teams don't use pinch-hitters that often.
"It's a tough, lonely job, but somebody has to do it," said Perez, who didn't appear in any of the three games against the Reds.
•Disabled pitcher Matt Belisle made his fifth rehab appearance Saturday and still hasn't given up a run — one inning, one hit, one strikeout, 11 pitches for Class AAA Louisville. He is expected to join the Reds for the opening of a three-game interleague series Tuesday against Kansas City in Great American Ball Park.
•Scott Hatteberg was thrown out at second base Sunday on a hit-and-run on which Juan Castro swung and missed, but it still counted as a caught stealing, ending the Reds' streak of 14 straight wtihout getting caught.
•There were 33,139 in Jacobs Field on Sunday and the three-game series drew 99,138, largest series of the season for the Indians.