7/13/2013 5:09 P.M. ET
Choo celebrates birthday by extending hitting streak
By Jon Cooper / Special to MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Reds centerfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first inning on Saturday, doesn't call a lot of attention to himself, unless you want to talk about his play.
Fittingly, he did not go out of his way to announce that Saturday was his birthday. Teammate Todd Frazier isn't as modest and made an announcement to the team.
Choo waved his cap and joked to a group of teammates sitting on the couch, "Don't guess my age."
Oddly, for a guy who was born in July, Choo has seen next to no action on his birthday, as the game against the Braves was only the second time he's played on July 13. Last year was the first time in his eight-year career that he suited up on his birthday.
The big 30 wasn't exactly kind to Choo, as Cleveland lost, 1-0, in Toronto, and Choo went 0-for-4.
Choo didn't waste time making year No. 31 better, as smacked singles to center off Atlanta starter Mike Minor in each of his first two at-bats, the second driving in a run. He came into the game hitting .405 during the first 10 games of his hitting streak.
Baker empathizes with Braves' injury woes
ATLANTA -- The business of Major League Baseball can be unforgiving -- at least once the game begins -- but outside the lines there is room for concern, especially when it comes to injured players, even in the opposite clubhouse.
Reds manager Dusty Baker showed his class by spending a majority of his pregame meeting with the media inquiring about the health of injured Braves outfielders Jason Heyward, who was hurt on Thursday night, and brothers B.J. and Justin Upton, who were hurt on Friday.
"They don't tell me what [the extent of an injury] is," Baker said.
Baker certainly empathizes with the plight his counterpart, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, is having this series. In fact, he recalled being on the wrong end of the injury bug one late July.
"I remember it happened to us in San Francisco in 2002," he said. "We lost every outfielder. We lost every one of them. We lost Barry [Bonds], we lost [Tsuyoshi] Shinjo, we lost Kenny Lofton. We lost all of them. I was wondering, 'What the heck is going on?'"
Baker got a lesson in perspective from his father during that stretch. It's a lesson he hasn't forgotten and one in which he still strongly believes.
"My dad told me don't think worse because it can get worse," he said. "I remember saying at that time, 'This can't get any worse than this.' Bam! We lose another one."
Those Giants eventually got healthy, won 95 games and advanced to the World Series before falling to the Angels in seven games.
• Baker did not buy into a speedy return for relievers Sean Marshall or Jonathan Broxton, preferring to see them show some more progress in their rehabs.
"No, we're not close," Baker said. "Marshall has only thrown once live at hitters. We probably won't do anything until after they go out a couple of times more. See how they are, see how he does. Then we'll see."
• The defensive indifference in the ninth inning on Friday, allowing Tyler Pastornicky to take second off Aroldis Chapman, played a key role in the end of the bullpen's franchise-record streak of 32 2/3 scoreless innings, which came on a Freddie Freeman RBI single. Baker showed his own indifference to that Saturday afternoon prior to the game.
"I don't even think about that. I just don't want to give up runs when it counts," Baker said. "As long as they don't do that, they can give up runs. I'm curious how many games we won during that streak. That's the only thing that matters. You want to pitch well, but you want to win first."
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.