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05/05/11 12:27 PM ET
Replacing Rolen remains complex equation
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- It's been a patchwork situation for the Reds to get by without third baseman Scott Rolen.
The Reds are 5-5 in their first 10 games since Rolen went on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder. They couldn't go to their planned backup, prospect Juan Francisco, because he's also on the DL with a strained calf. They've instead used utility infielders Miguel Cairo and Chris Valaika and regular shortstop Paul Janish.
"Everybody that's been over there has done the job, done well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's just that Scott is Scott. He's a Gold Glove third baseman and he's your cleanup man. It doesn't get any better than that."
Last season, the Reds were 73-52 in games Rolen started and 18-19 when he didn't.
Janish got the start at third base on Thursday against the Astros for the third time since Rolen went down, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. He's played there a handful of times previously in the big leagues and Minors.
"To be honest with you, it's a slightly easier adjustment for me because it's still on the same side of the infield," Janish said on Thursday. "It was harder for me when I had to learn how to play second base, initially.
"It's definitely a little bit closer and things happen a little bit quicker [at third base]. Catching and throwing it is pretty much how I look at it. The worst team having to play against was Milwaukee. They've got Rickie Weeks, Carlos Gomez, Casey McGehee -- a few of those guys turn on the ball as good as anybody. After a couple of foul balls get laced by you ... you get used to it."
Rolen has yet to resume baseball activity and will not be with the team when it travels to Chicago this weekend. There's a chance he could rejoin the club in Houston on Monday, depending on his progress.
"It's hard to get work, period in Chicago," Baker said. "They have just one cage and one small little weight room. In older buildings, you don't have the space. He's feeling a lot better. Us shelving him was the right thing to do. When he says something, it's probably been there a while and too late already."
Cairo tests sore knee prior to game
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker had planned to start Miguel Cairo at third base Thursday after he had been out of the starting lineup since Sunday with a sore right knee. But Cairo pinch-hit on Wednesday and clearly ran gingerly up the line as he grounded out.
"It was cold. I didn't want to aggravate it," Cairo said on Thursday. "Scotty [Rolen] is on the DL. [Juan] Francisco is on the DL. I don't want to go on the DL."
Cairo was back on the field Thursday morning testing out his knee, which was covered with a brace.
"I'm going to do everything -- run, hit, ground balls -- and see how I feel," Cairo said.
Reds option Smith to Triple-A Louisville
CINCINNATI -- To make roster space for the activation of starting pitcher Homer Bailey from the disabled list, the Reds optioned reliever Jordan Smith to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday.
Smith had a 5.29 ERA in 14 appearances but had several strong outings. With 17 innings, he ranks second among Reds relievers; the right-hander was used heavily because of frequent short starts from the rotation.
Smith has allowed seven runs over his past 8 1/3 innings spanning five games. He allowed two runs and three hits with a homer over 1 1/3 innings vs. Houston on Tuesday.
"It happens. He pitched a lot," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "There's still a few things he needs to improve on. But he's close, real close. He's close to staying here for a long time. He has the right attitude about pitching. He hates to give it up. He has that reliever mentality that you like to see."
Thursday's rescheduled game (because of Monday's rainout) was the second in a stretch of five consecutive day games for the Reds. It's the longest stretch of day games the club will have this season, barring any other rescheduling. The Reds played five day games in a row last season from June 30-July 4 and went 4-1.