Braves manager a fan of Harang
By Hal McCoy
ATLANTA | Bobby Cox sat in the Atlanta dugout Saturday night entranced by the pitching he saw — and he wasn't just paying attention to his own guy, John Smoltz.
It was Cincinnati's Aaron Harang who caught Cox's eye. He knows all about Smoltz, knows he is a pitching guru. But, Harang?
Cox even invoked the name Greg Maddux when he talked about Harang, who lost to the Braves on Saturday after holding them to no runs and three hits for six innings.
"I love Harang," said the Atlanta manager. "And I loved Bronson Arroyo when I saw him in the American League. The Reds have two top-notch pitchers right there. The Reds need to keep hunting (for pitching), because they have the hitting.
"Harang has a purpose for every pitch, and it is fun to watch him," Cox added. "He has a great idea, and I like watching guys like that — him, Maddux, and Arroyo is like that, too."
When it was mentioned that Harang, Arroyo and Maddux do not possess clock-busting fastballs, Cox laughed.
"You don't have to throw hard. That's the whole misconception," he said.
"Everybody is looking for power arms, guys who throw 96. How about throwing 91 on the corners when you want to do it. Maddux has made a fortune doing it."
Cox said he loved watching Maddux throw during spring training, and all the minor-league pitchers would gather around to watch.
"Maddux would throw one of his 86 miles an hour fastballs on the black, turn to the kids and say, 'You know what I make a lot of money? Because I know where my fastball is going,' " Cox said.
Cox said he used to post signs in every pitcher's locker that read, "A pitcher without control has nothing." Said Cox, "That's an old saying, and it's so true. And that's what Harang and Arroyo do. Maddux used to say, 'If you can't control your fastball, you can't pitch. And it can be anywhere from 82 to 90."
When Harang was told what Cox said, he smiled and said, "That's a nice compliment right there, coming from a guy like Bobby Cox who has had great pitchers like Smoltz, Maddux, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery. He's been around and he knows pitching."
Griffey's day of rest
Even though there is a three-day All-Star break, manager Jerry Narron gave center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. a day off Sunday.
"Just a day off," said Narron. "Day game after a night game, which is what we always do, and we're sticking to that plan. We're giving him as many innings off as we can steal from the schedule."
Griffey, though, pinch-hit in the sixth with two on and two outs with the Reds down, 6-3.
He struck out.
The Ross report
Catcher David Ross, removed from Friday's game with what was described as a lower abdominal strained, was examined Sunday morning in Cincinnati by Dr. Joann Lohr, and the original diagnosis was confirmed.
Rest was prescribed, and Ross will be examined Thursday before the season resumes after the All-Star break.
Too many E's in Edwin
For the third straight game, third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was not in the starting lineup. He was on the disabled list for nearly a month with a sprained left ankle and returned Thursday in the starting lineup.
He made a careless throwing error to open the eighth and that run scored, an important run in the 8-7 10-inning defeat.
Afterward, manager Jerry Narron made it a point to say how crucial that error was in the grand scope of the game. Encarnacion hasn't played since, and it probably is not a coincidence.
Asked before Sunday's game if Encarnacion was OK, Narron said, "Yes, and Ryan Freel is, too. Freel played well (Thursday night)."
Playing third base, Freel was 3-for-4 with a walk, so he played Saturday and was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Did he play third Sunday?
No, he played center field. But Encarnacion still didn't play. Rich Aurilia was at third.
The All-Star trio
Pitcher Bronson Arroyo, manager Jerry Narron and director of media relations Rob Butcher left after Sunday's game for Pittsburgh and the All-Star game. Narron is a coach and Butcher is working for FoxSports, arranging player interviews.
Narron said he hasn't been told what he will do, "But I've been asked to make out the lineup card." That's because when he was a coach with the Reds under Dave Miley, he made out the lineup card is excellent calligraphy, including the correct symbols for Asian players in their native language.
"I'm going to have to break it out and practice," said Narron. "And I'll have to check on how to write Ichiro's name in Japanese, so I don't write something I shouldn't by mistake."