Baker's meeting helps Reds fend off panic
First three-game slide since mid-April no reason for alarm
CINCINNATI -- The Reds entered Thursday burdened by their first three-game losing streak since mid-April and have had trouble scoring runs. But an unwanted guest named "panic" had yet to be granted access into the clubhouse.Manager Dusty Baker rarely goes negative and he didn't on Wednesday, when he held a pregame meeting to perk up his hitters. "I think he just reiterated the fact that this is a tough game," Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said Thursday. "There will be some lulls, but you have to minimize them and really focus on the positive. Stick to what you've been doing, which is what has made us successful." Cincinnati was outscored, 25-5, over its previous past three games against the Dodgers and Royals. Until a run scored in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 6-2 loss, the Reds had scored one run in a span of 22 innings, including 14 straight scoreless innings. "This is a game of failure, it's tough," Bruce said. "Panicking, it feeds itself. A little comes here and little more comes there when there's more failure. It's a downward spiral. You have to take a step back and realize it's just been a few games. All it takes is a few games to turn it around. [Baker] reminded us of the fact that we are a good team. We are a winning team and this stuff doesn't last." For his part, Bruce's sixth-inning single on Wednesday snapped an 0-for-10 run. He drew a one-out walk against tough lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo in the following plate appearance in the eighth that loaded the bases. "I still have some stuff to work on," said Bruce, who entered the day batting .268 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. "I'm hanging around and getting my hits but there's some more adjustments I need to make in order to be where I want to be. It will come."
Dickerson slowly progressing with rehab
CINCINNATI -- Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson's long, slow rehabilitation from right hand and wrist surgeries continues. Dickerson took fly balls with coach Billy Hatcher on Thursday morning and has recently started hitting soft tosses in the cage."It's going pretty well," Dickerson said of hitting. "I don't feel like the power is even close. But it's getting close to where it's pain free. It's just a matter of time. Hopefully, by Sunday, I will be taking light batting practice. I might even try acupuncture to see if anything can loosen up the tightness in my forearm." Dickerson, who has been out since April 30 and is on the 60-day disabled list, has a scar across the palm of his right glove hand. He throws left-handed. "It doesn't hurt to catch, but I will catch one right on the bone, in the wrong spot, and it kind of gets it," Dickerson said. "But that's one in every 50 balls. When it gets it, it's like having a small electric current go through your fingers."
Lefty reliever Bill Bray, who is working his way back from May 2009 Tommy John surgery, has six scoreless appearances and two hits allowed over 6 2/3 Minor League innings. He's walked two and struck out 10. Bray pitched four games with Class A Lynchburg and has two one-inning appearances logged with Triple-A Louisville. ... The Reds entered Thursday as the only team in the Majors with four hitters batting .300 or better in Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto Scott Rolen and Jonny Gomes. ... Cincinnati will start a three-game Interleague series on Friday in Seattle. The Reds are 1-5 all-time vs. the Mariners, including 1-2 at Safeco Field in 2007.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.