Looks like we’re making some headway. From the Reds’ official website:

In recent days and weeks, Internet bloggers have taken to posting “Free Edwin Encarnacion” messages.

Some fan blogs have even displayed a picture of the Reds third baseman behind bars. Many more fans have wondered why Encarnacion hasn’t played more lately.

What blog could he be talking about? And is this the picture that’s mentioned?

But no one has wondered more than Encarnacion himself.

“Yeah, it’s tough. I don’t know what’s going on,” Encarnacion said. “The thing is, when they give me an opportunity to play, I’ll try to do my job and try to do the best I can. That’s the best thing that can happen for me right now.”

To that end, Encarnacion has held up his end of the bargain offensively. He entered Tuesday with a five-game hitting streak and batting .478 (11-for-23) with one homer and five RBIs over the last eight games he’s played since he returned from the disabled list on July 6….

Until he sprained his left ankle in early June, Encarnacion played every day. Manager Jerry Narron has never explained why the 23-year-old’s playing time decreased, but he has made it clear all season he prefers solid defense. Encarnacion has committed a club-high 15 errors this season. That included one in his first game back from the DL, but none since. Aurilia has committed six errors combined at four positions.

“This is the first time that I have to come to the ballpark and check the lineup to see if I’m playing at all,” said Encarnacion, who is batting .293 with seven homers and 41 RBIs this season. “The only thing I want is to win games. If we win games, everything will be all right.”

Narron has been trying to find ways to keep the steady bats of Aurilia, Encarnacion and first baseman Scott Hatteberg in the lineup. Aurilia has played mostly third or first base this season, but he could shift to spot start in one of the middle infield spots.

“There’s a chance of it,” Narron said. “I came close to doing it Sunday. With [Juan] Castro and [Royce] Clayton, it’s tough to do. I want to play one of them at short.”

Brandon Phillips has been a fixture at second base, and Narron has been reluctant to rest his infield’s best glove. But the skipper plans to make more use of Encarnacion.

“Eddie will definitely play tomorrow [against Houston lefty Andy Pettitte],” Narron said. “He’ll definitely play either Thursday here or Friday in Milwaukee, maybe both.”

Yeah, gotta get Claystro in the lineup, don’t you, Narron? Sheesh.

Again, I’ll say: Free Edwin Encarnacion! Narron says he’ll be in the lineup on Wednesday, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Let the guy on the field, Narron! He’s going to be a star!

12 Responses

  1. Blue

    Here’s the part that kills me:

    “Eddie will definitely play tomorrow [against Houston lefty Andy Pettitte],” Narron said. “He’ll definitely play either Thursday here or Friday in Milwaukee, maybe both.”

    The guy has no plan! He thinks Aurilia brings something to the table that Encarnacion doesn’t, and since he doesn’t know what he’s going to do in advance, makes the decision almost everyday that RA will start over EE.

    EE should be the permanent 3B and RA should go back to platooning at 1B and being a utility infielder, or RA should play SS.

    Nothing else is acceptable.

  2. John R.

    Maybe I can buy EE not starting every day when we have both Kearns and Lopez in the lineup. However, now we have Claystro and Denorfreel playing SS/RF, I don’t think Narron can afford to sit EE. The crazy thing is that EE started every day when we had Kearns/Lopez and now that we don’t, he is sitting. All this guy ever does is produce. I wish I could say the same about Narron. I think the club produces in spite of Narron. FREE EDWIN!

  3. Brandon

    Just give it a little time. You have to admit Aurilia has been swinging the bat well lately and nobody has hit the ball better than Hatteberg so it’s tough to give Rich a lot of time over there. Eventually Aurilia will cool down and Edwin will get a lot more playing time, EE is young so it won’t hurt him to sit for a while, it will actually probably, and hopefully, fuel him.

  4. hammer1

    Manager Jerry Narron has never explained why the 23-year-old’s playing time decreased

    Has anyone in the media asked him ?!?

  5. Bill

    Brandon, you’re missing the point. Why is it only EE, Aurilia or Hat in this equation? Why must Castro or Clayton be in the lineup? Last year Aurilia was the starting SS when the season started, why not play him there now?

  6. Brandon

    Clayton hasn’t held this offense back at all, he’s already come through with a couple of clutch hits and has hit in just about every game he’s played for the reds so far. And with the way Narron and Krivsky both talk about defense it’s no wonder Clayton and Castro are going to take almost all the time up at short. You can’t base the game solely on offense and put EE in the game over Clayton/Castro. That’s what’s been wrong with this team the last 6 or 7 years because they’ve been completely offensive and haven’t put emphasis on other parts of the game, I must be the only one who’s glad that defense is actually starting to be cared about by the coaching staff.

  7. Chris

    You probably are the only one who prefers Royce Clayton to Edwin Encarnacion. You and Jerry Narron, I guess.

  8. Jim McCullough

    Why not work EE into the outfield picture?

  9. al

    i don’t know that we do have to admit that Rich has been swinging the bat well lately. i know he’s been crushing lefties, that’s for sure. but look at these numbers against righties: .242/.294/.369, thems is not great.

    he seems like a perfect platoon partner for hatty, and throw in some spot starts at 3rd and ss. If he started vs every lefty and spelled someone in the IF twice a week, he’d be starting most games, we’d be getting the most production possible out of 1B, and edwin could take the spot in the lineup that he’s earned.

  10. Brandon

    oh jesus don’t start thinking i prefer clayton over edwin my dear god i’d turn homicidal. I just think he needs a little time to work on his defense, if he could become a solid defender he could be the best 3rd baseman the reds have had in a very long time

  11. Bill

    The problem hasn’t been their defense, though it hasn’t been a strength, the problem has been their starting pitching has been historically bad….