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Edmonds joins Reds in heat of Central battle

Edmonds joins Reds in heat of Central battle

CINCINNATI -- In a move made on Monday to add experience to a younger team poised for a stretch run toward the playoffs, the Reds acquired outfielder Jim Edmonds, sending outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Brewers.

Edmonds, 40, joined the first-place Reds and started in center field, batting fifth, against the second-place Cardinals in Cincinnati's 7-3 series-opening loss in the National League Central clash. Edmonds went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

"It's been a quick six or seven hours to go from kind of the bottom of the standings to the top in a hurry," said Edmonds, who played for St. Louis from 2000-07, winning a World Series title in '06. "And to show up here playing the Cardinals, it's going to be a little nuts. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

To make room for Edmonds on the 25-man roster, the Reds optioned left-handed starter Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville.

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline already passed, both Edmonds and Dickerson had to clear waivers for the trade to go through. Obviously, no NL teams with lesser records like the Cardinals made any attempt to block the deal. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty had been in talks with Milwaukee over the weekend.

"We thought Edmonds would add a veteran, playoff-experienced guy who's had a pretty good year with Milwaukee," Jocketty said. "He's actually a guy I thought about signing over the winter, and we didn't. I kind of regretted the fact that we didn't. I think he's going to help us a number of different ways."

In 17 seasons for five teams, Edmonds is a lifetime .285 hitter with a .376 on-base percentage.

Known for making some spectacular highlight-reel catches in center field over the years, Edmonds missed all of 2009 and staged a comeback after signing with Milwaukee before this season. Nagging injuries have bit this year, including a sore right Achilles' tendon that has limited his ability to run. It hasn't bothered him much at the plate, since he comes to town batting .286 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in 73 games.

"I'm doing good," Edmonds said of his health. "It's still sore, and I'm playing with it and dealing with it. I talked to Walt about it, and he knows about it. [Manager] Dusty [Baker] knows about it. We'll go from there. I played as much as I can in Milwaukee."

Edmonds joins a Reds center-field situation that has young players and has recently become complicated. Drew Stubbs was the regular there until last week, when his struggles got him displaced by rookie Chris Heisey. Speculation was rampant that Dickerson might come up to replace Stubbs since he was ready to come off the 60-day disabled list.

Baker didn't commit to using Edmonds as his everyday center fielder.

"I don't know if he has 'everyday' left in him to play," Baker said. "You see how we mix and match everybody here and who I think that day who we'll need. ... Nothing is 100 percent, but you go on some numbers, some on how a guy is swinging at that time."

Injuries played a large part of the 28-year-old Dickerson's resume during his time in the Reds' organization. He was a .274 hitter with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 148 career games for Cincinnati.

Dickerson, who batted .205 in 20 games this season, hasn't played in the big leagues since April 30, when he went on the disabled list because of surgeries on both his right hand and wrist. He just wrapped up a rehab assignment for Louisville, where he batted .442 (19-for-43) with three homers, seven RBIs, nine walks and six steals in 13 games.

"It's a move to give us a better chance to win now," Jocketty said. "Dickerson has had a career with us that's been back and forth. He's had a number of injuries. We feel we have some guys that have moved ahead of him, younger guys. It was something we felt for the short term was the best fit for us."

Jocketty's accumulation of veteran players who are former Cardinals with postseason experience continues. Also in the fold for the Reds are third baseman Scott Rolen, Miguel Cairo and recently signed relievers Jason Isringhausen and Russ Springer.

"It's guys that I know are good players still that can contribute," Jocketty said. "I think everyone we've acquired has done a good job. This is another guy that will do the same."

A player who has dominated the Reds often as a member of the Cardinals, Edmonds will now be another asset. He is a .274 hitter in 118 career games against Cincinnati but also has 32 homers and 85 RBIs.

Just recently, on July 26 at Milwaukee, Edmonds defeated the Reds in a 2-1 loss with a two-out, pinch-hit home run off of Bronson Arroyo in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"I've been in the Central for so long -- when you play the same team over and over and over, you're bound to have some good games," said Edmonds, who was given his familiar No. 15. "I love hitting in this park. It's a great place to play. They have great fans, and it's a good city. I'm looking forward to it."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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