© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
09/03/07 7:08 PM ET
Notes: More callups announced
Votto one of six brought up; Livingston to undergo surgery
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- More September callups are coming for the Reds, who announced Monday that another six players from Triple-A Louisville would be available beginning Tuesday. None are more anticipated than Joey Votto. The 23-year-old first baseman/outfielder batted .294 with 22 home runs, 92 RBIs and a .381 on-base percentage. A 2002 second-round Draft pick, he was the Bats' most valuable player and the International League's rookie of the year. "He's earned it. He had an excellent year at Triple-A," said Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky. "It's up to [interim manager Pete Mackanin] how he's used. I'm sure he'll get some exposure. First time in the big leagues, he's excited." "He will be playing, whether it's on a daily basis -- that's to be determined," Mackanin said. "We're going to talk with him when he gets here. He'll certainly play." Also being recalled are three relievers that struggled over previous big league stints this season -- Todd Coffey, Brad Salmon and Kirk Saarloos. Outfielder Buck Coats, who was acquired in a trade with the Cubs last week, and catcher Ryan Hanigan will also be available. Two top prospects that didn't get the call were outfielder Jay Bruce and pitcher Johnny Cueto. Bruce, 20, started at Class A Sarasota and finished at Louisville. Over three different levels, he batted .319 with 26 homers and 89 RBIs. The Reds' first-round pick in 2005, he batted .301 with 11 homers and 25 RBIs in 50 games at Triple-A. "I talked to Jay last Tuesday night," Krivsky said. "I brought him into [Louisville manager] Rick Sweet's office. We had a great talk. He fully understands our position in terms of the ability to get at-bats here, or the lack thereof." Cueto, 21, was 12-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 28 starts and also pitched at three levels this season. He pitched seven innings for a win at Double-A Chattanooga on Monday, which brought his season total to 161 1/3. "He's gotten plenty of innings," Krivsky said. "Johnny had an excellent year. He got a taste of Triple-A. I think he's pitching some winter ball this year. That hasn't been finalized yet." Surgery for Livingston: Injured Reds pitcher Bobby Livingston got the news that was both feared and expected. Livingston's partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder will need to be repaired surgically. The left-hander will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on Thursday. The operation, expected to take less than hour, will be performed by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek. If all goes as planned, Livingston could begin throwing again in January. "I'm just trying to stay positive," Livingston said Monday morning. "There's nothing I can really do about it. That's what stinks about the whole thing. It's something that's happened that's out of your control. I'll just try to work as hard as I can to come back as fast as I can." Livingston, who turned 25 on Monday, went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 24 after an MRI revealed the labrum tear. He felt no symptoms during what proved to be his final start on Aug. 21. In 10 starts, Livingston was 3-3 with a 5.27 ERA. It wasn't known whether he would be ready in time to compete for a spot at Spring Training. "It's not something you can really speed up because you have to let everything heal," Livingston said. "You don't want to re-injure it. That's the most important thing when it's trying to heal." Still sitting: Outfielder Norris Hopper had the National League's best batting average in August (.425) but has yet to crack the Reds starting lineup in September. Hopper, who also leads the NL in hitting (.378) since the All-Star break, has not started since the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader at Pittsburgh. Utility player Jeff Keppinger, a .361 hitter this season, was not in the lineup after starting the previous two games. "I can't figure how to keep him in there," interim manager Pete Mackanin said of Keppinger. Lefty hitter Josh Hamilton has gotten all the starts lately in center field against right-handed pitching. Mackanin has been tempted to start the right-handed Hopper vs. a righty pitcher. "I think about it every day," Mackanin said. "When Josh wasn't here, I liked Hopper-Keppinger at the top. I liked the way it looked. But I also like Hamilton and [Alex] Gonzalez. It's a dilemma. What would you do?" Mackanin viewed Hopper, Keppinger and Jorge Cantu all as essential bullets for him to fire from the bench. "To be perfectly honest with you, if I had to hold back anybody for the ninth inning to come up with the big hit in the game, [it's] Hopper, Keppinger or Cantu," Mackanin said. "I feel good about all three of them. I don't care if it's righty or lefty, they give you good at-bats. That's a nice feeling when you need an RBI or to get on base." Conine returns: Only two weeks after he was traded, veteran first baseman Jeff Conine returned as a visiting player with the Mets on Monday. After less than a season in Cincinnati, the 41-year-old Conine was dealt for two Minor Leaguers and immediately went from a non-contender into a pennant race. "It's different in every way," said Conine, who will retire after the season. "The games mean a lot more, and you can't get much different than the New York atmosphere. It's totally different. It's madness. It's fun." Coming up: Matt Belisle (7-8, 5.33 ERA) will start Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game vs. the Mets and lefty Oliver Perez (12-9, 3.39).
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.