Reds Preview

Once through the rotation, plus one, the Reds starting pitching has performed above and beyond expectations, even though it is early.

Aaron Harang pitched horribly on Opening Day during a 16-7 loss but came back to have a quality start in his second outing, a Reds victory.

Bronson Arroyo's first start after his acquisition from the Red Sox was a beauty, 6 2/3 innings of three earned runs and six hits in a victory.

Eric Milton, a 15-game loser last season, made his debut one of quality -- seven innings, two runs, six hits in a victory.

Brandon Claussen had one bad inning in his debut but was strong in his other four innings, giving up three runs and five hits.

Dave Williams lost his debut but was victimized by shoddy defense and no offense while going six innings and giving up two earned run and five hits.

"That's only a little more than once through the rotation, but if we continue to get the kind of starting pitching we got the first week we are going to be very competitive, because we know we're going to score runs (42 over the first six games)," said manager Jerry Narron.


--C Jason LaRue, on the disabled list after knee surgery 15 days ago, is scheduled to catch disabled RHP Paul Wilson in the team's extended spring training opener in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday. Wilson, who underwent shoulder surgery last summer, is scheduled to throw 50 to 60 pitches or three or four innings, whichever comes first.

--OF Quinton McCracken, on the disabled list with a sore ankle, went 2-for-3, including a bunt for a hit, in a rehab game with Class A Sarasota on Sunday during a five-inning stint. He was expected to play nine innings Monday, then take Tuesday off.

--RHP Bronson Arroyo makes his second start for the club when he faces the Cubs in Wrigley Field on Tuesday. He doesn't have fond memories of the Cubs while pitching for the Pirates and Red Sox -- a 1-3 record with a 5.84 ERA in six appearances, including a 14-6 loss in 2005 at Wrigley while pitching an interleague game for the Red Sox in which he gave up seven runs and 10 hits in four innings.

--RF Austin Kearns had hits in each of his first five games this season, including four doubles, until Sunday's 0-for-4, but he is off to a .320 start going into a three-game series in Wrigley Field, where he has his best success on the road.

--LHP Kent Mercker struck out the side in his one inning Sunday against the Pirates and has a 2.57 ERA so far this season, an anomaly so far in a bullpen that has given up 25 hits in 17 2/3 innings and 17 earned runs, an 8.66 ERA.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- Number of second basemen on the 25-man roster after the acquisition Friday of 2B Brandon Phillips, who joins Tony Womack, Ryan Freel and Rich Aurilia as second basemen.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When in doubt, say second base." -- GM Wayne Krivsky, joking about his acquisition of a fourth second baseman, Brandon Phillips.

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