03/28/07 5:00 PM ET
Notes: Freel banged up after collision
Reds center fielder sore after hitting wall; X-rays negative
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Coutlangus keeps impressing Whether lefty reliever Jon Coutlangus makes the final roster or not, he's definitely left a great impression on the Reds this spring.The latest memorable moment came in Tuesday's game. Coutlangus inherited a fifth-inning, bases-loaded jam from starter Kyle Lohse. He got two lefty-hitting All-Stars, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, with called strikeouts. And Howard's strikeout came after Coutlangus fell into a 3-0 count. "I was going to throw three balls right down the middle and let him hit me or whatever," Coutlangus said. "I didn't want to walk in a run. I threw three fastballs and they ended up being not down the middle." Narron doesn't believe Coutlangus' future is limited to left-handed situations. "I think with the movement he's got on his fastball, he'll be able to get out right-handers also," Narron said. "I know it's Spring Training, but he's gotten some really good left-handed hitters out. When you bring him in with the bases loaded and face Utley and Howard, that's pretty strong." Drafted as an outfielder by the Giants in 2003, Coutlangus was converted to a pitcher in 2005. The Reds claimed him off of waivers last spring. This spring, there appears to be one bullpen vacancy up for grabs -- especially with lefty Bill Bray still bothered by a bruised left index fingertip. All signs are pointing toward Bray beginning on the disabled list. Coutlangus has a 3.52 ERA in 10 appearances, totaling 7 2/3 innings. He only had one bad outing, when he allowed five runs (three earned) in one-third of an inning last week vs. Tampa Bay. His experience as a position player has proved helpful "I know that as a hitter, you go 0-for-3 with Ks, the next day you have to come right back out," Coutlangus said. "That's how the bullpen compares some with being a hitter. You can be right back out there the next night and you have to shake it off." Tuned up? In his final spring start, Reds Opening Day starter Aaron Harang allowed three earned runs and 10 hits in five innings. Harang walked none and struck out two. In six starts, Harang was 2-3 with a 6.66 ERA and allowed 46 hits in 25 2/3 innings. "I'm not worried about it," Harang said. "Right now, it's making sure the timing is correct, and I want to make sure I'm in shape and ready to go for the season." "He got through the spring healthy. We're looking forward to Monday," Narron said. Injury report: Reserve infielder Juan Castro (sore right elbow) was able to play the field for the first time in a week. Castro started at second base on Wednesday and went 0-for-3. In his second spring outing back from a shoulder injury, Gary Majewski walked a batter in one scoreless inning of relief on Wednesday. Ring 'em up: Members of the Reds organization that played with the Arizona Fall League's Phoenix Desert Dogs received their championship rings on Wednesday morning. AFL executive director Steve Cobb gave rings to Coutlangus, infielder Drew Anderson, outfielder Cody Strait, pitchers Jared Burton, Phil Dumatrait, Calvin Medlock and Tyler Pelland and coach Jamie Dismuke Coming up: Bronson Arroyo will get his final spring start for the Reds against the Twins on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET in Sarasota. Carlos Silva is scheduled to start for Minnesota.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.