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06/03/07 8:14 PM ET
Notes: Narron appears set on Bailey
Manager all but reveals decision to call up top prospect
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
DENVER -- Is he or isn't he? One day after naming three different candidates, Reds manager Jerry Narron all but revealed that Homer Bailey would be his starter when the vacant fifth-starter's spot comes up again on Saturday at home vs. the Indians. "It is a TBA. It's not a TBD," Narron said on Sunday morning. That means "to be announced," and not "to be determined." In other words, Narron knows but isn't saying. "I don't know what the rules are," Narron said. "Can you announce it if he's not on the roster?" Bailey, the Reds' 21-year-old top prospect, allowed four earned runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings with eight strikeouts for Triple-A Louisville in a 7-5 win at Durham. The right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 10 starts. Narron has delicately lobbied for Bailey's promotion since last season. However, the club has resisted making the date of Bailey's Major League debut official. "He's a candidate," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said on Sunday in an attempt to downplay the speculation. "We're not going to know until later in the week for sure." Reds long reliever Victor Santos and Louisville lefty Phil Dumatrait are the other choices. One hitch is that it's possible that a starter could be needed on Friday vs. Cleveland instead of Saturday. That's because the club might give Sunday's starter, Matt Belisle, an extra day out of concern it could take longer to recover from pitching in Colorado's higher altitude. One other "TBA" has been cleared up. On Thursday, it's expected that Kyle Lohse will make his next scheduled start in St. Louis. Lohse pitched six innings in Saturday's 4-1 loss, and the team wanted to see how he was feeling before making it official. Defending his decision: It was not surprising that Josh Hamilton was nowhere near the Denver area on Sunday, the first day he was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. Hamilton remained in Durham, N.C., where he's playing with Louisville on an injury-rehab assignment. The rookie outfielder has been on the disabled list since May 22 because of gastroenteritis, a stomach ailment. He will rejoin the big-league club for Tuesday's game at St. Louis. On the trip with the Reds, Krivsky heard the criticism back in Cincinnati for not activating Hamilton and staunchly defended his decision. "With his immune system being what it was, why take a chance for one game? People are going to say, 'You're not trying to win. Every game is important.' Yeah, every game is important. But a guy's health is important, too, for the long term." Entering Sunday, Hamilton was 7-for-20 (.350) with four home runs for Louisville. He reported feeling fatigued following the first couple of games, which was why the Reds wanted to be extra cautious. "It didn't seem like the wise or prudent thing to put him through all that travel for one game, based on what he's been through physically," Krivsky said. "Now if he had been eligible Friday and had an ample number of at-bats leading up, that would have been a different story. "I'm sure I'll get criticized for that. But that goes with the territory. You just have a wider lens than one game." Dunn sits: Left fielder Adam Dunn received a rare day off on Sunday because of a serious sinus infection. Dewayne Wise started in center field, with Norris Hopper being shifted to left field. Dunn, who singled as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning of Cincinnati's 10-9 loss, probably needed to have sat out the previous couple of games, but he wanted to play. "The first game here was bad," Dunn said. "[On Saturday], I thought I was going to die. I'm hoping today on the plane it gets better, or I'm going to parachute out." Gonzalez hurt: Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez left Sunday's game after the top of the fifth with a strained right hamstring. Gonzalez, who was listed as day-to-day, was limping after he crossed the plate as Juan Castro reached on a two-run, two-base error by left fielder Matt Holliday. Castro, who was playing second base, moved to shortstop and Brandon Phillips finished the game at second. Injury updates: Closer Eddie Guardado (elbow surgery) pitched a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts on Saturday in his second rehab assignment appearance for Class A Dayton. Lefty Bill Bray threw 14 pitches over one inning in an outing at extended Spring Training. Not humidor happy: Coming off two low-scoring games, Narron was asked if he thought Coors Field had changed into less of a hitter's park. The Rockies employ the use of a climate-controlled humidor to store baseballs for games in an effort to keep them from carrying in the mile-high thin air. "I don't think the ballpark has changed, but the ball has definitely changed, no question," said Narron, who is not a fan of the humidor's use. "There's no doubt in my mind about that." Wild Wellman: Several Reds were watching video of Double-A Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman's wild antics following his ejection on Friday vs. Reds affiliate Chattanooga. Among the highlights, Wellman completely covered home plate with dirt and drew a bigger plate to emphasize his dislike for the umpire's strike zone. He also did an army-style crawl towards the pitcher's mound and heaved a rosin bag like it was a grenade and removed second and third base. "It was awesome. That's something special," Dunn said. Wellman, a former member of the Reds organization, managed Chattanooga in 1999 and from 2001-03. Dunn played for him and broke off a phone call to his former skipper when he first heard about the incident. "I talked to him and said, 'What a freaking idiot,'" Dunn said laughing. "That's him. People look at it and say, 'That's staged.' It's so not staged. That's what he does. He yelled at us in the locker room one day, and it was just like that, exactly like that. I seriously thought he was going to hurt himself." Coming up: Following Monday's off-day, the Reds will resume their 10-day, nine-game road trip on Tuesday in St. Louis. Aaron Harang (6-2, 4.22 ERA) will start the three-game series opener against the Cardinals' Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 3.86).
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.