SARASOTA, Fla. -- The battle for the Reds' final roster spots has decreased by one contender. Outfielder Bubba Crosby was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday afternoon. Crosby was out of Minor League options and had to clear waivers first. He has 72 hours to accept the assignment and will become a free agent if he declines it. "We just felt he was behind a couple of other guys for that spot," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "At the same time, doing it when we did -- he has the choice of maybe hooking on with someone else or reporting."
The Reds now have 37 active players remaining on their Spring Training roster. Crosby batted .276 (8-for-29) with one home run and seven RBIs this spring. The 30-year-old former Yankees reserve was signed by Cincinnati in November but became expendable with Rule 5 Draft acquisition Josh Hamilton's hot spring making him a lock to make the team. Like Hamilton, Crosby is a left-handed hitter. The club has four lefty-swinging outfielders, including Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., who appeared less likely to be headed to the disabled list with a hand injury when he started on Saturday. With Crosby out, Chris Denorfia's chances of landing the final outfield spot have greatly improved. Another right-handed-hitting outfield candidate, Norris Hopper, has been out nearly a week with a heel injury, but he could return before camp breaks. Denorfia came down with a sore right forearm on Friday and did not play on Saturday. Krivsky didn't believe the injury was serious. "I think there's a chance he could play [on Sunday]," Krivsky said. "It's just a slight strain. We're being safe." Lining up: With Griffey back, manager Jerry Narron's batting order was almost one that fans should begin to get used to. The 1-8 portion of the lineup was Ryan Freel, Dunn, Brandon Phillips, Griffey, Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto, Alex Gonzalez and David Ross. Votto was called over from Minor League camp to fill in for Scott Hatteberg, who was out with a groin injury.
"If we had Hatteberg in there, we pretty much would have had our Opening Day lineup out there," Narron said.Narron has been looking for ways to split up his lefty hitters -- Dunn, Griffey and Hatteberg -- preferring to have them bat second, fourth and sixth, respectively. Griffey usually batted third last season, but he appears to be the cleanup hitter for now. "It's nice to see Griff back in the lineup," Narron said. "Just his presence there means so much." No breaks for Arroyo: Reds starter Bronson Arroyo cruised for six innings in a 7-0 win over the Phillies on Saturday. Arroyo allowed five hits -- all singles -- one walk and struck out six. Even with the stellar outing, the right-hander didn't show his entire bag of tricks against Philadelphia. "I threw fastball, changeup. I didn't throw a breaking ball the entire day," said Arroyo, who threw 90 pitches. "I wanted to see if I could get by with it, especially since I knew we were going to face these guys during the season. I figured we'd see if we could try it one time and see what happened. I'd either get killed or throw pretty good." Arroyo had five of strikeouts in the first two innings, as several hitters seemed to be waiting on a curveball that never came. "[Phillies first baseman Ryan] Howard was on first base after the first inning," Arroyo said. "He was like 'What the hell is he doing man? I was waiting on a breaking ball.' Dunn said, 'I think he's just going to wait until a little later.'" Bray's finger: Sporting a plastic splint on the index finger of his throwing hand, lefty reliever Bill Bray knew what how he'd be spending batting practice. "I've got the bucket," joked Bray. Unable to throw for a couple of more days because of a bruised fingertip, collecting BP balls hit into the outfield was about all he'd be able to do. A few days ago, Bray was injured during fielding drills when a ball took a weird hop and hit his hand. He hasn't pitched in a big-league exhibition since March 8 because of a sore shoulder. "I finally got back from a little shoulder tightness and then jam my finger," said the unlucky pitcher. The 23-year-old Bray knew that beginning the season on the disabled list was a possibility. "It's definitely in the back of my mind," Bray said. "But if this subsides in the next couple of days, everything should work out just fine. I could get back throwing in a couple of days and be ready to go." Coming up: Fifth-starter candidate Matt Belisle, who has made a strong bid for the job all spring, will get another test on Sunday vs. the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET. Fellow fifth-spot contender Kirk Saarloos is also expected to get some innings.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.