Rapidly rising Bruce hopes Reds can't pass him up
Slugger's dream may soon be reality

By C.L. Brown
cbrown@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

Louisville Bats outfielder Jay Bruce hopes to force the Cincinnati Reds' hand one more time.

Bruce was originally going to have a brief stay in Louisville after making his debut July 12. But the more he played, the better he looked, and his temporary stay has turned into the remainder of the season.

When the Bats complete their season tomorrow, Bruce hopes he'll get a chance to join the Reds.

"It's a dream -- it really is," Bruce said. "But this year the situation I'm in, being young and them not really having a need for me up there right now, puts them in a difficult position.

"So far this year, I've been successful. So I've done my part. I trust them to make the right decision when it comes to that stuff."

Bruce has really done more than his part. The 20-year-old prospect started the season in Class-A Sarasota before being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga.

In his combined season, he's totaled 26 homers, 46 doubles and 89 RBIs with a .319 batting average. In 50 games with the Bats, Bruce has hit .305 with 11 homers and 25 RBIs.

Bruce is not on the Reds' 40-man roster. And if that doesn't change, chances are it won't take him long next season to get his shot at the big leagues.

"If I get called up -- that's the biggest dream of my life to get to the major leagues," Bruce said. "If I don't, it's not a big deal at all. I'll go to spring training with the same attitude I had this (past) spring training and try to force the hand on them as much as I can."

Hot times

Bats outfielder Chris Dickerson can't stand the heat, so he's headed to Arizona. That's right. Dickerson, who recently suffered heat exhaustion, was selected to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Louisville's LHP Tyler Pelland was also chosen.

Dickerson was selected last season, too, but had to decline the invitation because of shoulder surgery. Dickerson has hit .255 this season, but he was second behind Aaron Herr with 127 strikeouts entering last night's game.

"It's going to be great for my development," he said. "I'll be able to work on some stuff and start to really hone in on certain parts of my swing so I can get ready for spring training when it comes around."

Other Reds minor leaguers asked to play are LHP Ben Jukich, RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Pedro Viola, C Craig Tatum and IF Adam Rosales.

C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-4044.

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