Meanwhile, the 25-year-old continues to battle with painful shin splints. He has tried changing his shoes and insoles and applying heat and ice to his legs. Because Hamilton has felt better during road games, some believe the source of the problem is the playing surface at the Reds' Ed Smith Stadium complex."The outfield is really soft and kind of spongy," Narron said. "The [infield] dirt is really hard. It's a bad combination." Impressive spring: With a perfect inning of relief in the seventh against Minnesota on Wednesday, Jon Coutlangus has kept his spring ERA unblemished at 0.00 through six appearances (5 2/3 innings). "Coutlangus was just very, very impressive," Narron said. "To get out [Joe] Mauer and [Justin] Morneau from the left side and Matthew LeCroy -- who is a pretty good hitter from the right side against left-handed pitching -- that's a pretty impressive 1-2-3 inning right there." Also intriguing is that the left-handed Coutlangus, a converted outfielder, has just two full seasons of pitching under his belt. He was claimed off waivers from the Giants during Spring Training last year. "Our scouts for us do a really good job," Narron said. "There are not a lot of scouts that get somebody like Coutlangus, who was taken off the roster and only pitching a year." Injury report: Outfielder Norris Hopper is wearing a protective boot on the right heel he bruised in Monday's game. Hopper isn't expected to be available until next week, which could benefit reserve outfield candidates Chris Denorfia and Bubba Crosby, or others fighting for the 25th man spot. Crosby, who hasn't played since Thursday because of a minor strain of his left calf, was expected to get an at-bat in a Minor League game on Wednesday. Injured closer Eddie Guardado (elbow surgery rehab) was slated to throw 30 pitches in his latest bullpen session. Coming up: Trying to build from his five scoreless inning performance on Saturday against Boston, Kyle Lohse will get the start for Cincinnati against the Yankees on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET in Sarasota. Carl Pavano is New York's scheduled starter.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less