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03/30/10 8:01 PM ET

Harang ready for Opening Day assignment

Despite struggling this spring, righty says he feels great

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Opening Day starter Aaron Harang had his final tuneup of spring and allowed five runs -- four earned -- on five hits over 4 2/3 innings with two walks and six strikeouts. The biggest blow was Scott Hairston's three-run homer in the top of the third.

Harang had three errors committed behind him, including a throwing error of his own, and worked through a few jams.

"It helps you to have to work out of situations," Harang said. "The biggest thing was getting in the stretch. The last couple of outings, my timing out of the stretch was tough. I ended up throwing two bullpens during the week and was working mainly on that. I felt great with it. I worked on my slide step with some of the faster runners on."

The spring numbers for Harang aren't pretty. In four games, totaling 13 2/3 innings, he has a 9.88 ERA with 24 hits, five walks and 15 strikeouts. Nevertheless, he proclaimed himself ready for his fifth straight Opening Day assignment, which is Monday vs. the Cardinals and ace Chris Carpenter.

"Yeah, I feel great," said Harang, who went 12-31 over the past two seasons. "This is the best I've felt in Spring Training. The outcome is not what you want or expect, but it doesn't count. It's about getting me ready for the long haul of the season. Overall, I feel very comfortable with all of the stuff I've done with my mechanics. I feel like the ball is coming out really well. It's a matter of taking it in and stretching it out throughout the game come Monday."

Sutton hanging on Reds' roster bubble

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- This is the time of Spring Training when players on the bubble for making the 25-man roster can't help but wonder with a lot of questions.

Did I do enough to make the Reds? If this happens, will I get in? If that happens, will I get cut? Who will make it and who won't? All of that while trying to stand in a batter's box to hit a 95-mph fastball.

"Three days left. It's getting close," said Reds infielder Drew Sutton Tuesday morning. "You try not to start thinking about if I make it or not. We've already had to ship our cars out, so either way, I have to get back to Cincinnati to get my stuff."

Sutton is one of six infielders vying for what is likely two utility spots on the Reds bench. The competition is between Sutton, Aaron Miles, Chris Burke, Miguel Cairo, Paul Janish and Juan Francisco.

"I'm trying to do the most with the at-bats I get," Sutton said. "That's the main thing right now."

On Tuesday vs. the Padres, Sutton started at shortstop and didn't have a great showing. He went 0-for-3 at the plate with a strikeout and committed two fielding errors. He has three errors this spring, all at shortstop.

Along with Janish and Miles, Sutton has the benefit of already being on the 40-man roster. Miles also has the security of being owed $2.7 million this season but is batting .143 (4-for-28) this spring.

Sutton is batting .233 (7-for-30) in 20 games and also played six different positions, including all four in the infield and both corner outfield spots. The 26-year-old has gained 30 pounds back after being worn down all of last season by a case of mononucleosis.

"The most challenging part for the utility players is they haven't gotten as many at-bats," Sutton said. "They've been spread out. It's been a little more difficult. You want to be aggressive in the at-bat but you also want to see some pitches. It's in between. They've let us play in Minor League games to get extra at-bats, and that's helped out to catch up."

Cabrera, Phillips need at-bats

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Shortstop Orlando Cabrera and second baseman Brandon Phillips were the only two regulars not in Tuesday's starting lineup. That was pre-planned, but both hitters haven't fared well this spring.

Cabrera is batting .175 (7-for-40) while Phillips is batting .125 (5-for-40). Both are going to play in Minor League games on Tuesday as the designated hitter.

"They need at-bats because their strokes aren't there yet," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Cabrera has seen more pitches. A third of his at-bats have probably been 3-2 counts, which he rarely gets to. The more pitches he sees, the quicker your timing comes."

Reds to make cuts soon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds still have 40 players in camp heading into Wednesday's split-squad games. That won't be the case come Thursday, general manager Walt Jocketty indicated.

"I think you'll see that number decrease dramatically," Jocketty said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.