Notes: Reds face coaching decisions

Notes: Reds face coaching decisions

ST. LOUIS -- One of Jerry Narron's first questions for general manager Dan O'Brien when he was discussing the possibility of staying on as manager of the Reds next season was whether he would have final say on the composition of the coaching staff.

Narron's got it. And over the course of the next week, he'll use it.

Before Sunday's season finale against the Cardinals, Narron said he expects the current coaches -- hitting coach Chris Chambliss, pitching coach Vern Ruhle, bullpen coach Tom Hume, first-base coach Randy Whisler and third-base coach Mark Berry -- to know their fate by the end of next week's organizational meetings, which run Wednesday through Saturday in Sarasota, Fla.

"They all pretty much know what to expect," Narron said. "But they won't know definitively until later next week. I'll talk with Dan again next week in Sarasota."

Chambliss appears to be a lock to be back for what would be his third season as hitting coach.

"[Narron] wants me back," Chambliss said. "I know that. We'll have to work it out. But I don't see any reason why I wouldn't be back."

Chambliss said he likes what his offense has been able to accomplish the past two seasons.

"It's always going to be a challenge to keep the strikeouts down with the personnel we have," Chambliss said. "We're trying to get those numbers down. But when you're scoring the most runs in the National League, I'll take that tradeoff."

Chambliss appeared confident he'll be back. Ruhle was another story.

Ruhle, who replaced longtime pitching coach Don Gullett on June 21, said he'd like to keep his job, but he's unsure how the situation will play out.

It's possible the team could return him to his old position as roving Minor League pitching coordinator.

"I'll be putting the uniform on somewhere next year," Ruhle said. "Living in Sarasota, it's a great situation for me to be able to go over [to Instructional League] and work with the Minor Leaguers. Hopefully it'll work out for both sides."

There has been speculation that Hume could take over the pitching coach job if Ruhle doesn't stay on with the big league club, but Hume said he hasn't been told anything definitive.

So the coaches will just have to wait and see over the next few days.

"If there's a change, it'll be because I feel a change is needed," Narron said. "Nobody will be forced on me."

Long time coming: One of the Cardinals' top prospects got the start in Busch Stadium for Sunday's finale.

Only this prospect was a former one -- Aaron Holbert, the 32-year-old Reds infielder.

Holbert was a No. 1 pick by the Cardinals back in June 1990, but he made just one start for the team in April of 1996. He went nine years between big league appearances before the Reds called him up in August.

Narron made his fourth start of the season and his third at second base Sunday, in front of Tony La Russa, the manager who sent him down after that one appearance way back when.

"This is the place where I made it to the big leagues," Holbert said. "It should be exciting for me. It should be a good time."

Narron said he had a good time putting Holbert's name in the lineup.

"One thing I love being able to do is something like that," Narron said with a big smile. "He deserves it."

Holbert, one of the Major Leagues' feel-good stories this season, doesn't know what his future holds this offseason. The Reds might not opt to keep him on the 40-man roster.

"But no matter what happens, there's a good chance I'll be back in the organization at Louisville," Holbert said. "The grass isn't always greener. This organization's been good to me."

Couldn't pull the trigger: A month ago, Jacob Cruz was considering buying a ball autographed by Babe Ruth for a whopping $25,000.

Cruz is quite the memorabilia collector, and a ball signed by the Babe is his personal Holy Grail.

But Cruz said he couldn't bring himself to pay that much for the ball.

"It was a 3-2 slider, and I panicked," Cruz said with a laugh.

Reds report: Ramon Ortiz's 34 home runs allowed this season are the second-most given up by a Reds right-hander. Sammy Ellis holds the record with 35 allowed in 1966. ... On two previous occasions before Sunday, the Reds were the visiting team in the final regular-season game at a ballpark. On Aug. 11, 1914, they played in the final game at South End Grounds against the Boston Braves, and on June 28, 2000, they played the final game in Milwaukee's County Stadium against the Brewers.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.