06/23/12 3:55 PM ET
Baker fondly recalls facing Reds greats
By Mark Clements / MLB.com
A thoughtful smile grew across the face of Reds manager Dusty Baker as he thought back to his playing days.
Baker, who spent the majority of his 19 years in the Majors in the National League with the Braves and the Dodgers, said he formed tight friendships with many former Reds, many of which are back in town for the ceremony.
"The Reds had a whole team full of good guys," said Baker, who is in his fifth season as Reds manager. "The whole team was a bunch of good, hard-playing good guys."
Baker recounted stories of his days against Cincinnati legends like Ken Griffey Sr., Jack Billingham and 2012 Reds Hall of Fame inductee Dan Driessen.
Baker also said he visited with former Reds shortstop and current member of the Reds Hall of Fame, Dave Concepcion.
"It's always fun seeing Davey," Baker said. "Davey was always loose and a barrel of laughs and a hard competitor. He was one of my favorites on the other side."
Despite having to face the Reds during the heart of the Big Red Machine days in the early '70s, when the team won five National League West titles, four National League pennants and two World Series titles, Baker said he still relishes his time against them.
"I thoroughly enjoyed playing against the Reds ... once I was on the Dodgers," Baker laughed. "I didn't enjoy playing them on the Braves. They beat us to death."
Stubbs on track for Monday return after rehab start
CINCINNATI -- The first-place Reds may get even stronger soon as center fielder Drew Stubbs made his first rehab appearance on Friday after being out of action since June 6 with a strained left oblique.
Stubbs started in center for Class A Dayton, playing five innings and making two plate appearances in the 9-8 loss.
Stubbs went 0-for-2 on the day, but took batting practice and infield without any complications.
"No soreness, no pain during the game or anything like that," Stubbs said. "Taking two weeks off, from any game action, you never know how you're going to feel stepping in and getting back in the flow of the game. I felt really comfortable, like I haven't really missed a beat."
Reds manager Dusty Baker said the plan is for Stubbs to play seven innings for Dayton on Saturday, followed by a full nine-inning outing Sunday before rejoining the Reds on Monday.
Stubbs said he plans on taking advantage of every at-bat he can get before returning to the lineup.
"Between the three games that I'll be up there, I'll probably get in the neighborhood of 10 at-bats," Stubbs said. "You definitely want to get your swings in to make sure that you're where you need to be. At the same time, I also wanted to have some at-bats where I saw a lot of pitches and worked the count."
Stubbs was batting .235 with 48 hits and seven homers before the injury, as well as using his speed to snag 13 stolen bases and patrol the outfield.
The former first-round selection said he does not anticipate any future issues with his oblique.
"I was talking to some other guys who have dealt with this thing before and there might be some lingering tightness or stiffness in the area ... but not much discomfort or pain whatsoever," he said. "I'll get the game under my belt [Saturday and Sunday] and get ready to roll Monday."
Rolen rejuvenated since return from injury
CINCINNATI -- After struggling for a majority of the first half of the season and missing more than a month of action with a strained left shoulder, Scott Rolen may finally be back.
The 17-year veteran third baseman went 3-for-4 in Friday night's 5-4 loss to the Twins, chalking up his third home run of the season to go along with two singles and two RBIs.
"It was nice just being able to do something," Rolen said. "When you're hurt, you're hurt and you don't want to play. When I started feeling healthy again and getting some competitiveness back, that's when you kind of whet your appetite a little bit and want to get back in there."
Rolen never seemed to find his groove at the start of the season, batting just .174 with 16 hits, two homers and 11 RBIs in his first 29 games before the injury.
In four games since returning to the lineup June 18, Rolen has tallied five hits, one homer and four RBIs, for a .333 batting average.
"That's huge," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "You just don't know how happy that makes me. He looks better, period. But he still hasn't had enough reps to get where he wants to go."
On the season, Rolen is batting .196 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.
• Home-plate umpire Jerry Layne, who left last night's game in the bottom of the fourth inning after he was hit on the side of the head by a broken bat, will miss the rest of the series for precautionary reasons. He was sent to Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati Friday night and tests came back normal. He will be replaced by Mark Lollo.
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.