Since returning from that injury earlier this month, however, he’s enjoyed far more success. Especially against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Encarnacion looks to continue his hot hitting against the Brewers on Saturday night at Great American Ball Park where the Reds go for their second straight win.
Coming off a 2008 season when Encarnacion hit a career-high 26 homers with 68 RBIs, there was talk of sending him to Triple-A Louisville to work out of his early-season slump.
“Some guys are April and May hitters and by July, you can’t find them,” Reds manager Dusty Baker told the teams’ official Web site. “Some guys take a while to get their timing. Triple-A isn’t the answer.”
An injured wrist wasn’t the answer the Reds (43-46) or Encarnacion were hoping for either, but since he returned July 3, Encarnacion is batting .395 with three homers and nine RBIs in 12 games.
After going 3 for 3, including a three-run homer, in Thursday’s 9-6 loss, Encarnacion went 4 for 4 with a solo shot and two RBIs in Friday’s 4-0 win that snapped Cincinnati’s four-game slide against Milwaukee.
“I feel 100 percent now,” said Encarnacion, who has more career home runs (12) and RBIs (42) against the Brewers than any other club. “Now I feel better and I think I’m going to have a great year.”
More success against the Brewers would be welcomed by the Reds’ Aaron Harang(notes) (5-9, 4.18 ERA), who goes for first win since May 25. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.26 ERA in his last nine starts.
In his last outing, Harang yielded five runs and eight hits over three innings in Sunday’s 9-7 road loss to the New York Mets.
“Today they hit him pretty good,” Baker said. “Most of the time, he’s been throwing the ball pretty well, except for today.”
Facing the Brewers at Miller Park on May 30, Harang lasted 4 1-3 innings while giving up season highs of eight runs and 12 hits in a 9-5 loss.
Cincinnati has won five of Harang’s last six home starts.
Milwaukee (46-44), which has dropped nine of 13 to fall into a second-place tie with Chicago in the NL Central, counters with left-hander Manny Parra(notes), who hasn’t won in more than two months. After giving up six runs and six hits over 1 2-3 innings in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on June 13, Parra was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.
“Numbers don’t lie,” he said after losing for the fourth time in five starts. “I haven’t pitched the way I’m capable of pitching.”
Parra (3-8, 6.78), whose last victory came on May 17, struck out seven in seven scoreless innings in a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on July 9 in his first start back.
“If that’s what we’re going to be looking at in the second half, it’ll be a welcome sight,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
Parra is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the Reds in 2009.