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08/02/11 8:41 PM ET

Cozart making progress, getting used to brace

HOUSTON -- Injured Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart is continuing to make progress with the hyperextended left elbow that currently has him on the 15-day disabled list.

Cozart has been hitting soft tosses in the indoor cage, which he did again on Tuesday. One issue has been trying to get comfortable hitting with a soft brace on his left arm.

"There are still problems with extending a little bit and reaching that outside pitch and getting extension," Cozart said. "It's tough, because this brace is bulky and is supposed to keep me from extending. Obviously, when you hit, you need that. Hopefully after a couple of more days of doing baseball stuff, I will feel better."

Cozart will have to wear the brace for the rest of the season. He was injured during a July 23 collision at second base when the Braves' Nate McLouth slid into his arm. He is eligible to be activated on Monday and was hopeful he could be ready.

"The real test is actually playing in a game," Cozart said. "I can't simulate that stuff, putting the tag and things like that. It's inevitable that the ball could come in and the runner will hit me. That's what the brace is for."

Rolen to be re-examined, won't return on Friday

HOUSTON -- Reds third baseman Scott Rolen is scheduled to have his strained left shoulder re-examined on Wednesday, but one thing is abundantly clear: Rolen will not be ready to be activated from the 15-day disabled list when eligible on Friday.

"We'll let you know something tomorrow," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday.

Rolen, 36, is not with the club in Houston and has been undergoing treatment at the offices of team medical director Tim Kremchek. It is Kremchek who will examine Rolen.

"He hasn't done any baseball activity. He has not hit," head trainer Paul Lessard said.

This is the same shoulder injury Rolen dealt with earlier in the season, when he went on the DL from April 24-May 12. He also had two surgeries to repair a torn labrum in 2005 and missed most of that season. It would not be surprising if Rolen underwent a minor procedure to clean it out.

It's been a tough season at the plate for Rolen, who is batting .242 in 65 games with five home runs and 36 RBIs.

Ondrusek struggling out of 'pen recently

HOUSTON -- It hasn't been a great week for Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek.

Ondrusek took the loss in Monday's 4-3 defeat in 10 innings to the Astros when he gave up two hits and the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice play at the plate. Over his last five appearances entering Tuesday, he allowed four earned runs and eight hits over 3 1/3 innings.

This season, Ondrusek already has 54 appearances -- tied for third in the National League. He had 74 last season between the big leagues and Triple-A. Could Ondrusek be wearing down from heavy use?

"I don't think he's wearing out as much as he's getting the ball up," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They're first-ball hitting a lot off of him. These guys, they study you. They have reports like we have reports. He got the ball up on [Humberto] Quintero last night. On the hit and run, he got the ball up on [Angel] Sanchez. He made a good pitch on [Jose] Altuve."

Overall, Ondrusek is 4-4 with a 2.15 ERA. Before the rough patch, he had an 11-appearance, 8 2/3 innings scoreless streak.

"Nobody goes the whole year without getting hit. He's trying to," Baker said.

Baker often takes heat for how he uses his bullpen, and leaving his starters in too long. But besides Ondrusek, Bill Bray (56 games) and Nick Masset (54) are in the top 10 in appearances this season.

"You can't have it both ways. There are people who say we use our bullpen too much," Baker said. "How many quality starts do we have outside of [Johnny] Cueto? There are times you have to stretch them out to get to a certain point for the bullpen. It starts with the starting pitching. It's easy to say after the fact. There are times we know it's questionable.

"We're hoping we have the bottom of the lineup or the pitcher is coming up first or second the next inning. A lot depends on where their lineup rolls around to. A lot of our guys in that bullpen -- you can't kill them."

Worth noting

• In his latest rehab appearance, reliever Jared Burton pitched two scoreless innings on Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville at Pawtucket. Burton allowed two hits and a walk with two strikeouts while throwing 27 pitches, 19 for strikes.

• Right fielder Jay Bruce did not start on Tuesday against the Astros. Bruce is 1-for-23 lifetime against Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez with 13 strikeouts. Chris Heisey started in right field while Todd Frazier made his first big league start as a left fielder.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.