CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera is eyeballing one date on the calendar these days and it's not for a birthday or anniversary -- Aug. 18.Wednesday's game at Arizona marks the first day Cabrera is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique. "I'm trying to hit the 15-day mark," said Cabrera, who will be with the club when it leaves Sunday to start a West Coast road trip. Cabrera said he's continuing to feel better and took some swings on Friday and was expected to do some hitting on Saturday as well. "Nothing crazy, I just kind of hit off the machine just to see the speed," Cabrera said of his hitting activity Friday. "Nothing full speed or anything like that. I just need to start feeling comfortable again and lose the fear."
Suite view: Baker watches from on high
CINCINNATI -- While serving his two-game suspension that stemmed from Tuesday's fracas with the Cardinals, Reds manager Dusty Baker is getting a different view -- and perspective -- of the game from general manager Walt Jocketty's suite."It's a lot easier up there," Baker said Saturday. "Every war movie or cowboy movie I remember, they always went to high ground to have a better view of things." Here's a no-shocker -- Baker would prefer be in the dugout, naturally. "It's a nice seat," Baker said. "I'd rather be on the field, big time. I missed that part. You miss the action, even though there wasn't a lot of action last night. It was an uneventful victory. Our offense took over early."
Hard-working Nix hitting well lately
CINCINNATI -- Reds outfielder Laynce Nix has been on a hitting tear lately and is doing it as under the radar as possible. He wants to keep it that way.Nix entered Saturday with 15 hits in his past 28 at-bats (.528), including a 2-for-3, two-walk night in Friday's win over the Marlins. What has been behind the improvement? "He's been working," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You should ask him that." An attempt to do that was rebuffed. "I've got nothing," Nix said as he grabbed a bat to go do some early hitting. "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing." As the club's top left-handed pinch-hitter, Nix is 7-for-his-past-9 with two walks. Not starting Saturday with a lefty pitcher on the mound for Florida, he came into the night batting .286 with four homers and 15 RBIs. "He's using his hands more," Baker said. "Sometimes it takes time to figure it out. He's starting to figure it out pretty good."
Suspended Cueto throws simulated game
CINCINNATI -- Scratched from Sunday's start vs. the Marlins because he is serving a seven-game suspension, Johnny Cueto threw a 41-pitch simulated game on Saturday and faced teammates Ryan Hanigan and Juan Francisco."It was basically an advanced bullpen session," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. "You don't want him to get too far away from seeing hitters live." Cueto, who was disciplined for his actions during Tuesday's benches-clearing melee against the Cardinals, is expected to return Aug. 21 to start against the Dodgers.
Gomes wins Heart and Hustle Award
CINCINNATI -- Before Saturday's game, Reds left fielder Jonny Gomes was presented as one of 30 winners of the Heart and Hustle Award, presented by the MLB Players Alumni Association. One member from each club is named, with one ultimate winner being announced in November.Gomes, who was previously named the Rays' winner of the same award, was honored because he considers himself a gritty player that gives it his all. "From my coming up through the minors and before that with some of the adversity in my life, you never know when it's going to be your last game," Gomes said. "I kind of play the game in regards to that's how I want to be remembered when my time is up. I worked too hard to put this uniform on. It will take a lot to take it off. That's one of the aspects I want to bring every day."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.