CHICAGO -- You won't see Reds left fielder Adam Dunn as an injury scratch very often. "First time, ever," Dunn noted. "It's embarrassing." Moments before the Reds began Sunday's game vs. the Cubs, Dunn came down with back spasms in the dugout and was unable to play.
"I grabbed the rail to go out on the field, and I don't know how to describe it. Two knives went into my back," Dunn said. "I tried to stand up straight and I couldn't get good deep breaths. I went and sat back down. I couldn't lay on my stomach or my back when I got back in here. It was bad. I've never felt anything like that. It's a bad feeling having to come out too." Manager Jerry Narron improvised quickly and inserted Josh Hamilton in Dunn's place and batted him third. "As a matter of fact, I was writing Hamilton's name in the lineup when I was taking the lineup card to home plate," Narron said. "He would have possibly been available to pinch-hit. We'll see how it is [Monday]." Dunn already had a good idea about his playing status. "I will be in there tomorrow, for sure," said Dunn, who is batting .326 (14-for-43) with four home runs and eight RBIs in 11 games this season. Missing games for any reason has been a rarity for Dunn. The 27-year-old has played in at least 160 games the previous three seasons. In 2003, he played in just 116 games because of a torn ligament in his thumb suffered on Aug. 15 that kept him out the rest of the season. However, Dunn still finished that game and hit a game-winning walk-off home run that beat the Astros. Running donkey: Before Dunn was scratched, there was talk about his being 3-for-3 in stolen bases -- including a swipe in the fourth inning of Saturday's game. Dunn has joked since spring that his goal was to swipe 77 bases this season. "It's just a number I came up with in my head," Dunn said. "Seventy seven? Maybe 7-for-7," right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. joked. "Don't do that. Start that next year, and you'll be a leadoff hitter. A 6-7, 265-pound leadoff hitter. They'll expect him to slap the ball around, get on base and run." Last year, Dunn stole seven without being caught. His career high was 19 steals in 2002. "I can't get thrown out," Dunn joked. "I go when I know I can make it." "If he steals another one, we'll definitely put it on the big screen at home. It'll be his body on a donkey," said Griffey in a reference to Dunn's "Big Donkey" nickname. Staying with Ross: Reds manager Jerry Narron would eventually like to give third catcher Chad Moeller a start. But that is taking a backseat until the primary catcher, David Ross, snaps out of his offensive funk. Narron is continuing to play Ross, who has not looked good at the plate. "We're doing everything we can to get David Ross on track here and swinging the bat," Narron said. "It's not going to happen for him sitting on the bench." The last 42: Until Griffey donned No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson on the 60th anniversary of the breaking of baseball's color barrier, no Reds player had worn the number since Roger Salkeld in 1996. Others in Reds history that wore No. 42 include, Mike Jackson, Kevin Jarvis, Gary Varsho and Rick Mahler. Farm report: In his latest start for Triple-A Louisville, Homer Bailey allowed one earned run and three hits over five innings in a no-decision Saturday. Bailey walked three and struck out four as Louisville beat Norfolk, 8-2. In two starts, the 20-year-old Bailey is 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA (two earned runs over 10 1/3 innings). He has walked six and struck out eight. Coming up: Pitching on seven days' rest, Eric Milton (0-1, 6.35 ERA) will take the mound when the Reds open a seven-day homestand vs. the Brewers on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Lefty Chris Capuano (1-0, 4.35 ERA) will start for Milwaukee.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.