Notes: Spring slump reaches Lohse

Notes: Spring slump reaches Lohse

SARASOTA, Fla. -- That makes four.

Reds starter Kyle Lohse was the latest member of the starting rotation to absorb some rough innings during his start against the Yankees on Thursday. Lohse allowed six runs (five earned) and seven hits in five innings. At one point, New York held a 5-0 lead before Cincinnati rallied late for an 8-7 win.

Eric Milton (five runs, eight hits in five innings), Bronson Arroyo (four runs, seven hits over 4 2/3 innings) and Aaron Harang (four runs, eight hits in five innings) did not look stellar, either, their last times through the rotation.

With the top four spots set, none of these pitchers is battling for a job. Reds manager Jerry Narron felt that a stretch of rough outings is inevitable as pitchers prepare for the regular season.

"In the spring, absolutely," Narron said. "Most guys are going to have some games where they don't go out there and dominate -- that's for doggone sure."

Lohse's outing was the total opposite of his previous effort of five scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Saturday. Except for an unearned run, he got through the first two innings against the Yankees without much trouble.

The New York third began when Lohse issued consecutive walks to leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter. Bobby Abreu followed by hitting a first-pitch fastball for a three-run homer to right field.

"I thought he made some good pitches on the back-to-back bases on balls," Narron said. "They were close. But I don't know what he was thinking right there after the walk to Jeter. He gave Abreu a little bit too good of a pitch to hit. I hope he didn't let the at-bat to Jeter affect him."

Leading off, Alex Rodriguez added a solo homer on Lohse's first pitch of the fifth inning.

"The fastball really wasn't where I wanted it," Lohse said of his command. "It was one of those days where if it wasn't Spring Training, I would have pitched a lot of guys backwards. [Catcher David] Ross and I were talking about it. I still need to try to locate the fastball, and it seemed like every time I tried to get a quick one over, they hit it hard."

Lohse, who threw 92 pitches, was not concerned about the results of his third spring start.

"That's why we're here," Lohse said. "You see what you need to work on. My curveball was really good. My changeup was good. My slider -- I didn't throw it a lot. But it was there when I needed it. I just know I have to work on my fastball location and keeping it down."

Lohse missed two turns in the rotation with a strained right hamstring. It gave the right-hander no issue on Thursday, even when he had to field a slow grounder and run the bases with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth.

Lengthy injury report: Injuries have continued to nag several Reds as they enter the final stretch of exhibition games.

First baseman Scott Hatteberg was scratched from Thursday's starting lineup because of a sore groin muscle. With Jeff Conine away from camp because of the death of his father-in-law, backup catcher Javier Valentin started at first base.

Valentin pulled up lame in the fourth inning and couldn't score from second base on Paul Janish's drive to the right-field wall. Valentin later scored but left the game after the inning, diagnosed with a strained left hamstring.

Infielder Juan Castro is out with a tender right elbow and will miss another one or two days. Janish was called over from Minor League camp to start at shortstop.

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Lefty reliever Bill Bray, who has been out since March 8 with a sore shoulder, threw one inning on Wednesday in a Minor League game. Bray reported no problems.

Left fielder Adam Dunn played Thursday despite feeling sick most of the day. He likely won't play on Friday.

"We have to get some guys back to 100 percent," Narron said. "We have a lot of guys that right now are struggling to get through the spring healthy. We're going to try and take it easy on some guys the next few days."

Right-handed reliever Gary Majewski, who has yet to pitch with the big-league team because of a sore shoulder, also worked a Minor League inning on Wednesday.

Majewski could begin the season on the disabled list. He could also be sent to Triple-A Louisville, since he has Minor League options remaining. It was something he was open to.

"I told [general manager Wayne Krivsky] that when I first got here," Majewski said. "There's no need in keeping me up if I'm not ready. There's no need in me forcing myself to go out there like last year, not getting the ball down and pretty much getting my butt kicked every day. That's not helping the team at all. I told them if I have to go down for a while, I had no problem with that."

New kicks: Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. got one look at George Foster's old, worn-out shoes and couldn't resist poking fun at the former Reds great.

"It looks like you have size 14 feet stuffed into size seven shoes," Dunn said.

Griffey, who has a lifetime contract with Nike, called Foster over and pulled out a stack of several boxes of shoes from his locker. He provided Foster with two brand-new pairs of size 11 sneakers, Foster's actual size.

"Can't have you looking like that anymore," Griffey told Foster, in camp as a guest instructor.

"Can I have the keys to your car? I'll detail it for you," Foster replied. "This is the best gift my feet could have."

Coming up: Josh Hamilton, the Devil Rays' No. 1 pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, is expected to make his first visit to St. Petersburg with the Reds in Friday's 7:05 p.m. ET game. Harang will start for Cincinnati against Tampa Bay's J.P. Howell.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.