From the DDN

If Austin Kearns is in the Louisville penal colony for a long sentence, one would never know it by talking to Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron.

While Kearns continues to pound the baseball at the class AAA level — .357, four homers, 12 doubles, 17 RBIs in 84 at-bats — General Manager Dan O’Brien gives no indication of when, if ever, Kearns will be issued a governor’s pardon.

Narron, though, talks about Kearns with reverence.

“Kearns definitely is in our plans,” Narron said. “He has a chance to be an outstanding major-league player. He is going to hit great major-league pitching, not just average major-league pitchers.

“He is a good outfielder, he has a good arm, he plays good defense and he runs the bases,” Narron added. “He just got off to a poor start and got left out. He needs to play and get in shape.”

When O’Brien constantly refers to a program on which Kearns was put, it is in reference to the team wanting him to get in shape, lose some weight. “He needs to play and get in shape,” Narron said. “He is doing a lot of conditioning and got himself in better shape. We’re not concerned with his numbers at Louisville, we just want him to get in shape. I don’t mind talking about Austin Kearns because he is going to be an outstanding major-league player.”

There is no sense to Kearns being at Louisville and some of the stiffs being on the Reds.

Yes, Sean Casey has hit into 20 double plays and is fast approaching Jim Rice’s all-time record 36. And he is even closer to the National League record of 30, shared by Brad Ausmus and former Cincinnati Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi.

Yes, Sean Casey has hit only three home runs this season, none in Great American Ball Park. And his double Saturday night was his first extra base hit in 52 at-bats.

Yes, Casey hasn’t driven in a run since June 24, despite hitting .313.

Sometimes, though, there are other things not discernible in the box score. An example came Saturday night in the eighth inning when he faced Arizona pitcher Brad Halsey.

The Reds trailed, 3-0, with two runners on base. Casey forced Halsey to use 11 pitches before popping out.

But it also forced manager Bob Melvin to change pitchers, and Ken Griffey Jr. promptly tied the game with a three-run homer off relief pitcher Armando Almanza.

“That was a big at-bat,” Narron said. “An at-bat like that takes a lot out of a pitcher, and I’m sure that had something to do with the pitching change.”

Narron is not concerned about Casey’s recent production dip.

“Players seek their levels in this game,” he said. “He’ll hit five or six home runs in a week and he is going to drive in runs because he puts the ball in play. All we have to do is put runners on base for him.”

And never is heard a discouraging word.

About The Author

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Related Posts

11 Responses

  1. Peter

    “But it also forced manager Bob Melvin to change pitchers…”

    Really? It forced him to change pitchers?

    oh…and another thing…

    FREE AUSTIN KEARNS

  2. Tyler

    I have a diary about this on redreporter. Terrible. They refuse to criticize him. This is outragous. How can you list that many things he’s doing wrong and still not say the 3 hole is a bad place for him. I don’t get it.

    Being a nice guy, doesn’t make you worth 8 million a year. H

  3. Greg

    The following is from an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Monday, July 11:

    The All-Star break would seem a logical time for the Cincinnati Reds to recall Kearns, whom they optioned to the minors June 12.

    Kearns, though, isn’t holding his breath for the Reds’ phone call.

    “Man, with all the stuff that’s happened, I don’t have a clue,” he said.

    The outfielder has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. Last night he went 3 for 3 with two doubles, scoring the Bats’ first three runs. He’s batting .378 with four home runs and 14 doubles in 23 games with Louisville.

    “I’ve lost the weight, and I’m playing pretty well,” said Kearns, who headed to his home in Lexington, Ky., after the game. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t have any answers.”

  4. Mike

    Of course, had they not changed pitchers and Griffey hit a HR off of Halsey, Casey would still have gotten credit… I don’t know why they would waste the time to write that article. It is an undetected value, but how does that compare to 20 DPs on the season and 3 extra base hits in a month’s time?

  5. al

    what i don’t understand is why people keep asking the same questions about ausitn kearns: when is coming back? why isn’t he here when casey is struggling? It’s been answered a hundred times, when he looses weight. He was playing at 255 , which is huge for his height and it didn’t look like muscle. He was getting beat by fastballs routinely and it was because he was out of shape.

    this is the first article i’ve read where kearns has said that he’s lost the weight, but i find it hard to believe that he’s lost the 30 pounds they wanted him to in a month. I think he just wants to come back, but why? Wasn’t he the one moaning about the four outfielder situation and talking about how much fun he was having down there?

    The time for him to come back seems obvious: after the trade deadline when someone has been shipped out (if it isn’t him). That gives him more time for conditioning and he won’t have to sit on the bench all the time when he returns.

    that said, the 3 spot is certainly terrible for casey right now, and while he is a much more prooven commodity than kearns so i can’t see benching him often if you did bring austin back, it’s mind boggling that he hasn’t been moved down in the order. Dunn should be batting third.

  6. Blue

    Ditto.

    By the way, 2nd Round pick 18 year old Travis Wood made another appearance for the GCL Reds today:

    3.2 IP, 2 H, 6 K

    Once again, no walks and no earned runs. His numbers are very encouraging, thus far:

    11.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 19 K

  7. Chris

    I wish Dunn would get with the program and start fouling off more pitches before feebly popping out. Stupid Dunn.

  8. Chris

    By the way – why can’t Kearns get in shape at the major league level? This “plan” seems to be “play baseball and do some calesthenics.” Why in the world can’t that be accomplished in Zinzinnati?

  9. Joel

    Too many Skylines and Gold Stars in the area.

    “Dem salads are gewd!”

  10. Bill

    Al, are you saying it makes more sense for him to be a Louisville and having bums like Romano on the big club than having Kearns losing weight and at least getting some ABs here, while a stiff like Romano is somewhere (anywhere) else?

  11. al

    i have no problem with romano being here instead of kearns right now. Romano has better numbers on the year than kearns at the major league level, for one thing.

    But obviously i think kearns is the far superior player overall. But the reds aren’t going to win this year, plain and simple. I think kearns has been doing really well at louisville, hitting every day, getting back in shape. I don’t see the point in rocking that boat and putting him back on the bench.

    He’s having fun, or so he says, he’s getting ABs, let him stay there and continue to get things back in order (like confidence) until there is room for him to play.

    I’m working on the assumption that someone has to be moved to clear up the log jam we have, since we have too much talent in the OF and to little on the mound. If DanO is just punishing Kearns, and keeping him there for no reason, then yes, i think it’s stupid. But if he is going to move someone before the deadline, i think that kearns should stay down until then.