In the midst of his sixth major league stint in three years, Larson will try to help the Reds get their three-game series against the San Diego Padres off to a good start.
Larson was Cincinnati’s minor league player of the year last season after hitting .340 with 25 homers and 69 RBIs in 80 games at Triple-A Louisville. He hit .275 with four homers and 13 RBIs during a 23-game stint last year, and began the season as the Reds’ starting third baseman, with Aaron Boone moving to second base.
However, after hitting just .083 (4-for-48) in the first 16 games, Larson was sent back down to Louisville, and Boone moved back to third base. Larson then hit .323 with 20 homers and 74 RBIs in 72 games for Louisville and was recalled July 17.
With Boone’s trade to the New York Yankees last week, third base is open again. Larson is still struggling to prove he is worthy of the job, hitting .143 (2-for-14) in eight games since rejoining the Reds.
However, Larson showed some signs of life against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday as he homered and had two RBIs in the Reds’ 4-3 loss. While he still has a long way to go, Larson is grateful interim manager Dave Miley has had enough faith in him to keep him in the lineup.
“He certainly knows what I’m capable of,” said Larson, who played under Miley at Louisville. “It’s awesome that he’s up here.”
The Padres, who have lost five of seven in August, are coming off getting swept three straight by the Chicago Cubs, including a 9-3 defeat on Thursday.
One of the few bright spots for the Padres has been the return of Phil Nevin from a shoulder injury. The slugging first baseman went 2-for-5 with an RBI in the loss, and is hitting .286 (14-for-49) with three homers and 10 RBIs in 13 games since returning from the 60-day DL.
STANDINGS: Reds - 5th place, 10 GB, NL Central. Padres - 5th place, 28 GB, NL West.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: John Bale (0-0, 4.50 ERA). Bale, who will be making his first career start, allowed two hits and one run in two innings of the Reds’ 7-3 loss to San Francisco on Sunday. The 29-year-old left-hander has made 18 career appearances for three teams since 1999, going 1-0 with a 4.98 ERA.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (9-8, 4.43 ERA). The 22-year-old right hander has lost his last three decisions following a four-start winning streak. He has allowed 21 earned runs and 28 hits, including seven homers, over his last 21 1-3 innings. Peavy allowed five earned runs and eight hits over six innings in a 6-2 loss to San Francisco on July 27. He is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in one career start against Cincinnati.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Reds - Sean Casey, .294 avg. and 60 RBIs; Adam Dunn, 26 HRs and 67 runs; Dunn and Felipe Lopez, 8 SBs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .321 avg. and 51 runs; Ryan Klesko, 20 HRs and 60 RBIs; Ramon Vazquez, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Reds, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Reds - RHP Jose Acevedo was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday after spraining his left ankle the previous night on a slip down the dugout steps at Dodger Stadium. … RHP Scott Sullivan was activated from the disabled list Thursday after sitting out since July 18 because of tendinitis in his right shoulder. Sullivan is 6-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 45 games. He’s led the Reds in appearances in each of the previous five seasons. … RHP Aaron Harang, acquired in the deadline deal that sent OF Jose Guillen to Oakland, will make his Reds debut Saturday against the Padres. Padres - After losing three straight to the Cubs, the Padres lost the season series 2-4 to Chicago for the first time since 1999. … RHP Kevin Jarvis allowed consecutive homers in the third inning Thursday. Prior to that, he hadn’t allowed a homer in his last 40 innings dating to June 29. … OF Mark Kotsay went 3-for-5 with a run on Thursday, raising his average to .252.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Reds - 24-32 on the road; Padres - 22-35 at home.
INJURIES: Reds - RHP Acevedo (ankle), 15-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Dempster (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL. Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL.