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08/16/11 6:59 PM ET

Alonso gets another chance in left

WASHINGTON -- The Reds have decided not to give up on Yonder Alonso in left field after all.

Against the Nationals on Tuesday, Alonso got his first start in left field since Aug. 6 vs. the Cubs, during what was a disastrous weekend of defense for the rookie.

"We have to try him again sometime," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We're trying to find out, was that just a bad day or if he can do it."

Among the multiple tough moments in Chicago -- Alonso misplayed a Tony Campana line drive near the foul line before it became a two-run inside-the-park home run. The following day, he committed an error. Although a diligent worker, he is not known for speed and has trouble getting to some balls.

Alonso was converted to left field late last season at Triple-A Louisville after playing first base most of his pro and collegiate career. He played 62 games in left for Louisville this season before his promotion to the Reds on July 26.

"There's more people. There's a third deck. There's more scrutiny and those things," Baker said, comparing Triple-A to the bigs. "But the game is the same. Some of it is mental. Some of it is physical. Down there, nobody really pays attention, except the scouts that are at the game."

The Reds very much would like to get Alonso's bat into the lineup, somehow. However, Baker did not know how much of a second chance he would give.

"That's a good question, a real good question," he said. "We're hoping he does it but we've also got to win ballgames too. A lot of it depends on how confident he feels out there. It was an experiment from the beginning."

Alonso, who came into Tuesday batting .421 with one home run and four RBIs, welcomed the latest opportunity to play left field.

"I've been working really hard at it," Alonso said. They're going to put me out there again to do my thing. I'm not going to think about the negative stuff. ... Sometimes you get into wanting to do too much and that's when you get into trouble."

Since the Cubs series, Alonso has been taking groundballs at third base. Baker is not ready to give him a game at the hot corner, however.

"It's not an easy thing to learn a position in the big leagues," Baker said.

Arroyo, Willis on track to make next starts

WASHINGTON -- The Reds received encouraging news Tuesday that two pitchers injured during their previous starts -- Bronson Arroyo and Dontrelle Willis -- would be able to make their next outings.

Arroyo, who injured his left Achilles tendon covering first base on Friday vs. the Padres, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and reported no issues after being very sore on Saturday and Sunday. He is slated to start on Thursday vs. the Nationals.

"I felt, surprisingly, real good," Arroyo said after returning from the bullpen. "I'm ready to roll today. I'm good. I just threw a regular bullpen, 45 pitches. It was a little shorter than I have been but not because of my ankle. It was because it's getting late in the year and hot."

Willis, who came out of Sunday's start vs. San Diego during the third inning with a sore left forearm, underwent a MRI exam on Monday. The test came back as normal. He should be OK to start on Saturday at Pittsburgh.

"We have to see when he throws his 'pen in a couple of days," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "This time of the year, there's almost something wrong with everybody."

Gomes faces Reds for first time as a Nat

WASHINGTON -- When he was traded from the Reds to the Nationals for two Minor Leaguers on July 26, Jonny Gomes was stunned. He was pulled from the lineup for that night's game vs. the Mets and was informed he had been dealt about 10 minutes before first pitch.

Before Friday's series opener between the two teams, Gomes got to see some of his old teammates and the coaching staff on the field.

"There's a unique bond when you go to the playoffs with the team," Gomes said. "You create not only a tight bond inside the clubhouse but also some really good friendships. ... I didn't have an opportunity to say good-bye to anybody, at all. I was in Dusty [Baker's] office with Dusty and Walt [Jocketty] for four minutes. I came out and everybody was on the field [after the trade]. It's a good chance to see the guys' faces again."

Since coming to Washington, Gomes is batting .235 with two homers and four RBIs in 14 games. He batted .211 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 77 games this season with the Reds.

"I'm happy. I've got good teammates and they've taken me in with open arms," Gomes said standing at his locker in the Nationals' clubhouse.

Worth noting

• Homer Bailey, Logan Ondrusek and Dave Sappelt visited troops at the National Naval Medical Center on Tuesday morning.

• Catcher Ryan Hanigan celebrated his 31st birthday on Tuesday.

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.