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08/15/10 7:24 PM ET
On DL, Cabrera passes time as Reds' batboy
Injured shortstop spends four innings doing 16-year-old's job
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- For a few innings on Sunday, the Reds' Orlando Cabrera was the highest-paid batboy in baseball history. Cabrera, usually the Reds' shortstop, has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 3, with a strained oblique muscle. When his team played the Marlins at Great American Ball Park on Sunday, and won by a 2-0 score, he put some of his idle time to use by helping out as the club's batboy. "I didn't know," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "When he was taking balls out to the umpire, I said, 'I know that guy.'" But at 35 years old and earning $770,000 this season, with a $1.5 million signing bonus, Cabrera seemed to qualify more as a "bat-man." Although he didn't seem to take the new job lightly. Cabrera wore a batboy's uniform with "BB" on the back, instead of his last name and familiar No. 2. Like all batboys, he wore a helmet in the dugout and when he stepped onto the field. "That only thing was that a couple of kids were saying, 'Sir,' to him," Baker said. "He said, 'Do I look old?' Most batboys don't have a beard." When a foul ball was hit back to the screen, Cabrera popped out of the dugout and retrieved it. When an umpire needed new baseballs, Cabrera brought them out. He even gave water to home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn between innings. Helmets and bats were put away by Cabrera for the players, and he made sure bat donuts and pine tar were ready at the on-deck circle. "At first, I was watching him and telling him what to do a little bit," said the Reds' regular batboy, 16-year-old Luke Stowe, son of equipment manager Rick Stowe. "He started recognizing stuff that I did after a couple of years. I was getting pretty scared thinking he was going to take my job." However, by the fifth inning, Cabrera called it a day and left the dugout. "He said, 'Man, this is tough work,' and left after the fourth inning, but he did a great job," Stowe said. Cabrera is eligible to return to his regular gig Wednesday, when he can be activated from the DL. But at least one teammate liked how he handled moonlighting. "That was cool to see that," said infielder Miguel Cairo, who hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning Sunday. "He didn't get any runs. As soon as he left, we scored two. It was fun. We were really enjoying it and having fun out there."