ST. LOUIS -- Reds rookie Yonder Alonso's stuff is all spoken for.As a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Saturday's 6-1 win over the Cardinals, Alonso blooped a ground-rule double to left field. Matt Holliday attempted a sliding catch, but the ball bounced off of his leg and went into the crowd for Alonso's first Major League hit. "I told [Cardinals second baseman] Aaron Miles, 'Hey, somebody better get that thing. If not, I'll go get it myself.' But I saw them try and go get it," Alonso said. Alonso did get the ball and also received a lineup card autographed by the team. Those mementos, plus his spikes and bat, are going to members of his family. His parents were at Busch Stadium for all three games this weekend. The coveted first-hit baseball is reserved for the 23-year-old Alonso's father, Luis, who was a professional ballplayer in Cuba. Luis and his family defected to the United States when Alonso was a 10-year-old boy. "He's just done so much for me and has always been there for me," Alonso said. "I came here to the States because of him. He left his dream of playing baseball for me. I'm playing for him now. It's pretty emotional." Alonso, the Reds' first-round Draft pick in 2008, batted .290 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 132 games with Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville before he became a September callup once rosters expanded on Wednesday. The first baseman struggled in the early part of the season but credited switching to a lighter model of bats before catching a spark. With Joey Votto firmly cemented at first base for the Reds, Alonso is limited to mostly pinch-hitting duty. So far, he's had only two plate appearances but is learning how to handle the less-than-predictable role. "It's tough if you've never done it, like me," Alonso said. "The veteran guys here have helped me so much with it -- like Miguel Cairo. I'm not saying it's easy, but I'm more prepared for it. I have a routine. In the fourth inning, I stretch. In the fifth inning, I go for a run and then hit off a tee. In the sixth, I'm taking BP or hitting soft tosses. I feel like I'm game-ready."
Reds could use Cairo in the oufield
ST. LOUIS -- Injured right fielder Jay Bruce (sore right side) is making improvements but remains at least a couple of days from returning. That leaves Reds manager Dusty Baker with only three healthy outfielders.Utility infielder Miguel Cairo has been taking fly balls lately in left and right field. Cairo has played 68 career games in the outfield, but none since 2008. "We're trying to figure out in-case-of-emergency situations here. Hopefully we don't need him," Baker said. "He's played more left field. His leg is bothering him a little bit, so I don't want him to do too much." The Reds' shortage of outfielders could be exposed this week when the Reds play the Rockies at expansive Coors Field. Baker said that Yonder Alonso would not get a look in the outfield and said that Juan Francisco was under consideration. Someone asked about backup infielder Paul Janish as a possibility. "This is not the time to just try anybody out there, especially where we're going," Baker said. "If you try somebody out there, you want to do it at a smaller field -- like our field. You need Willie Mays, Curt Flood and Paul Blair out there in Colorado."
Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who went home because of a death in his family, was scheduled to meet the club Sunday afternoon and take the flight to Denver. Cueto is expected to make his start on Tuesday. ... Backup catcher Corky Miller is the latest Reds player to join Twitter, but it wasn't exactly by choice. While in Louisville, Miller told teammate Matt Maloney he'd sign up if Maloney reached 1,000 followers. Maloney got his 1,000th follower the other day. "I never thought he'd get it," Miller said.