CINCINNATI -- The Reds were so sure that shortstop Orlando Cabrera's sore left side would keep him out Sunday that Paul Janish was already put in the lineup and sent to the podium for a pregame press conference.
Yet when Game 3 of the National League Division Series vs. the Phillies started, it was Cabrera batting eighth and not Janish. Cabrera spent part of his day at home having his ribcage muscles worked over by a massage therapist. He told the club he could play.
"We had a couple of sessions and I feel better," said Cabrera from the field. "The guy's name is Andy. I don't know his last name."
To Cabrera, familiarity with names didn't matter if it meant he could get on the field.
"This could be my last night in the postseason," he said. "I'm trying to take advantage of it and not take it for granted."
Cabrera, who aggravated his left oblique injury while making a throw to turn a double play in Game 2, took ground balls on the field and batting practice before Game 3.
"It feels good. No pain at all," Cabrera said after leaving the cage.
Cabrera usually bats second for the Reds, but manager Dusty Baker was hedging his bets a little bit.
"If something happens, we can insert Janish and not tear up the lineup," Baker said.
The Reds had summoned rookie infielder Chris Valaika from their team complex in Goodyear, Ariz., to be activated in Cabrera's place in case he couldn't be well enough to stay on the roster.
Janish had filled in well for Cabrera while he was out for 27 games with the oblique injury in August. Janish also was 3-for-7 (.429) in his previous encounters with Phillies Game 3 starter Cole Hamels. Cabrera had never faced Hamels before Sunday.
During the Reds' 2-0 loss that eliminated them from postseason play, Cabrera was 0-for-3. In the first inning, he also committed a critical two-out throwing error to first base on Jayson Werth's grounder that scored the Phillies' first run of the game. After the game, Cabrera said he wasn't bothered by the injury.