Replacing Rolen remains complex equation

Replacing Rolen remains complex equation

Replacing Rolen remains complex equation
CINCINNATI -- It's been a patchwork situation for the Reds to get by without third baseman Scott Rolen.

The Reds are 5-5 in their first 10 games since Rolen went on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder. They couldn't go to their planned backup, prospect Juan Francisco, because he's also on the DL with a strained calf. They've instead used utility infielders Miguel Cairo and Chris Valaika and regular shortstop Paul Janish.

"Everybody that's been over there has done the job, done well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's just that Scott is Scott. He's a Gold Glove third baseman and he's your cleanup man. It doesn't get any better than that."

Last season, the Reds were 73-52 in games Rolen started and 18-19 when he didn't.

Janish got the start at third base on Thursday against the Astros for the third time since Rolen went down, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. He's played there a handful of times previously in the big leagues and Minors.

"To be honest with you, it's a slightly easier adjustment for me because it's still on the same side of the infield," Janish said on Thursday. "It was harder for me when I had to learn how to play second base, initially.

"It's definitely a little bit closer and things happen a little bit quicker [at third base]. Catching and throwing it is pretty much how I look at it. The worst team having to play against was Milwaukee. They've got Rickie Weeks, Carlos Gomez, Casey McGehee -- a few of those guys turn on the ball as good as anybody. After a couple of foul balls get laced by you ... you get used to it."

Rolen has yet to resume baseball activity and will not be with the team when it travels to Chicago this weekend. There's a chance he could rejoin the club in Houston on Monday, depending on his progress.

"It's hard to get work, period in Chicago," Baker said. "They have just one cage and one small little weight room. In older buildings, you don't have the space. He's feeling a lot better. Us shelving him was the right thing to do. When he says something, it's probably been there a while and too late already."