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Comfort for Cabrera as Interleague resumes

Comfort for Cabrera as Interleague resumes

CINCINNATI -- Facing the opposite league often means a lack of familiarity between pitchers and hitters because of how infrequently they see other.

  • 134 wins
  • 118 wins

For Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera, Interleague Play means the opposite.

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Cabrera spent the last five seasons in the American League, and the Reds' series with AL teams gives Cabrera a break from what is a season-long adjustment to National League pitching.

"It's the same perspective for me having a tough time right now because every pitcher that I face I've never faced him before, mostly," Cabrera said, comparing himself to what other Reds will prepare for in Interleague Play.

Cincinnati begins its second round of Interleague Play on Friday, as the Kansas City Royals come to town for a three-game series. The Reds will then go back to the National League with a mid-week set against the Dodgers to finish a 10-game homestand before a six-game road trip to the AL West with Seattle and Oakland. Interleague Play will conclude with three more against the Indians from June 25-27 at Great American Ball Park.

With the annual matchups against the opposite league now, Cabrea said making the switch is still difficult but not quite as tough as it used to be.

"It's gotten better because of Interleague," Cabrera said. "Before, it was really you see guys go into the opposite league and they struggle for the first couple of years because of that."

This weekend's series with the Royals includes a Sunday matchup with 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, a pitcher whom few Reds have faced. Six Reds batters have 60 at-bats against Greinke, but nearly half of those (26) were by Cabrera.

It's something that works both ways, however, as Greinke will also be seeing much of the Reds lineup for the first time.

"I'm going to look at video and watch and see how he's going to attack left-handed hitters," Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said. "I have to stick with my approach and not necessarily try to defend what he's going to do but use my strengths."

The Reds have had just three winning seasons against the American League in 13 years of Interleague Play. This season, they started off by taking two of three from Cleveland last month.

They went 6-9 last season, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Royals -- a series in which Greinke did not pitch.

The numbers show it's not just the Reds who have struggled against the NL. With the AL's deeper lineups, Bruce and Cabrera both said it's something to be expected.

But now, Cabrera is back with the Senior Circuit.

"It's a different approach because GMs in the American League, they're trying to build their teams stronger," Cabrera said. "It all comes down in terms of the DH and not having the pitcher hitting, so you have to build your team with better hitters from the bench and all around players. You can see it; I don't even think it's an opinion, you can see it."

Matt Brownis an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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