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CLE@CIN: Latos strikes out seven over seven strong

When the Indians welcome the Reds to Progressive Field on Monday for the clubs' second series in less than a week, much of focus will rest on Indians starter Derek Lowe as he toes the rubber for the first time since last week's public feud with Reds manager Dusty Baker.

Last Wednesday, Reds starter Mat Latos -- who will again square off with Lowe on Monday as the Reds look to extend their six-game winning streak -- threw an inside fastball to Lowe in the fifth inning. Baker later admitted to ordering Latos to deliver a brush-back pitch. Lowe immediately pointed his bat toward the Reds' dugout, and the skipper responded by waving his finger, which Lowe incorrectly took as Baker saying he had nothing to do with the inside pitch.

"I'm not denying anything. I didn't order anybody to hit him, but I told [Latos] to buzz him and make him uncomfortable. That's what happened," Baker said. "[Dikembe] Mutombo didn't shake his finger to say 'I had nothing to do with it.' That means don't mess with me, or my team. That's what that means. He better learn sign language."

"I have zero respect for the guy," Lowe said of Baker. "Not that it matters. I imagine he'd say the same about me."

Lowe plunked Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips in the bottom of that same inning. With this game being played in an American League park unlike last week's contest at Great American Ball Park, Lowe won't step up to the plate on Monday, but there will likely be some tension in the ballpark.

"It's whatever he wants to think," Latos said after last Wednesday's victory. "We'll let him play into his ego or whatever it is. It's done and over with. If he wants to whine about it, let him whine about it."

Monday should be a good indication of whether this ongoing feud -- which Lowe said dates back to 2008 -- is truly "done and over with."

Reds: Rolen to likely be reinstated from DL
Veteran third baseman Scott Rolen is expected to be reinstated from the disabled list on Monday and join the Reds in Cleveland. Rolen hasn't played since May 11 because of a strained left shoulder.

Rolen made a pair of rehab starts this past weekend with Triple-A Louisville and went 2-for-6 with a home run. In 29 games before landing on the DL, Rolen was hitting .174 with two homers and 11 RBIs for the Reds.

"Since he didn't get hurt, and we'll find out the conditions of how his legs feel and his back [he should return Monday]," Baker said. "When you haven't played, and you're bending up and down and bending over for nine innings, it's like starting all over again in Spring Training almost. If you're playing your position and playing it properly, you're doing movements you have to condition for a month or six weeks to do."

Assuming Rolen remains healthy, Baker will have a decision to make regarding the role of Rolen's replacement, Todd Frazier. Frazier, who has experience at other positions in both the outfield and infield, is hitting .278 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 43 games this season.

Indians: Acta not giving up on Sipp
Indians manager Manny Acta said he won't stop using reliever Tony Sipp, despite the lefty's season-long struggles.

On April 7, Sipp was tagged for four runs while recording just one out in his second appearance this season, and his ERA hasn't dipped below 5.40 since. More recently, he's allowed at least one run in five of his last seven outings, and currently has a 6.95 ERA in 27 appearances.

"Not pitching him is not going to help him," Acta said. "We need to get him right. He's scuffling. The only way to get better is pitching."

Worth noting
• Ryan Ludwick is 9-for-21 in his career against Lowe, and his four home runs off the right-hander are the most he's hit against any pitcher.

• The all-time head-to-head series between the intrastate rivals is split evenly, 39-39, since Interleague Play started in 1997. Comments