MIAMI -- The timing was uncanny and entirely coincidental. An unfounded trade rumor had circulated Thursday morning reporting that Reds left fielder Adam Dunn was traded to the Brewers. Sure enough by the same afternoon, Dunn emerged from a closed door meeting with interim manager Pete Mackanin and members of the coaching staff. However, Dunn wasn't headed anywhere. Instead, he had something on his mind and wanted to talk with Mackanin about it.
Several times, including the previous three games vs. Atlanta, Dunn had been lifted during the late innings for Norris Hopper in left field for defensive purposes. In Tuesday's game, Cincinnati had a six-run lead in the seventh inning. The meeting was viewed as entirely positive. "It was a great conversation," Mackanin said. "At least he expressed it. Every manager loves players that don't want to come out of the game. He didn't come in complaining. He was expressing that he didn't like coming out. It was kind of a 'get it off your chest' good. He's fine with everything." Although a prolific home run hitter, Dunn is considered below average defensively. "I understand a lot of situations. I've got it. I'm not dumb," Dunn said. "We just talked about some situations. [In a] one-run game, I've got it. Sometimes, though, in the seventh inning, there's a lot of game left." "'It's not that I think you're a bad outfielder,'" Mackanin said he told Dunn. "'Hopper is going to get to more balls and has better range. It's that easy. It's not that we think you're going to drop balls.'" Since taking over, Mackanin said he's tried to meet with many of the players individually and build working relationships. "It's important for them to know that I'm approachable," he said. "I prefer if they have a problem, come in and talk to me and I'll do what I can. I think players like a personal touch. It's more important for me to talk to the guys that aren't playing well and show them you're not mad at them." "He's an easy guy to talk to," Dunn said. No deal: Journalistic accountability took a hit Thursday after a Cincinnati radio personality posted an entry on his blog that said the following: "From the MLB rumor mill ... Dunn to Brewers for Matt Wise, Tony Gwynn Jr. and an infield prospect." "It was news to me," Dunn said. "Where does that stuff come from?" A Milwaukee station saw the post and reported it as fact. Both teams' general managers, Wayne Krivsky from the Reds and Doug Melvin from the Brewers, spent parts of their days dismissing the report as baseless. "I'm taking more calls deflecting these kinds of rumors than I've had talking to GMs," said Melvin, whose club is already flush with left-handed-hitting outfielders. "There are freaking geeks who get ... off on this kind of stuff." The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31 and many rumors will circulate for the next couple of weeks. Dunn's name has frequently come up this summer as someone who could be moved to a contender by Cincinnati. Right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. caught wind of the erroneous report. "I knew Dan O'Brien couldn't get enough of you," Griffey joked to Dunn. O'Brien, the former Reds' GM, now works as a Brewers' assistant GM. More bereavement: Reds starter Aaron Harang left the club Wednesday night and returned home to San Diego after his grandfather, Dusty, died. Harang already knew his grandfather passed, but had a well-pitched 7 2/3 innings in a no-decision Wednesday at Atlanta. "He wanted to pitch," Mackanin said. "He said that's what his grandfather would have wanted him to do, which I thought was kind of neat. He had that look in his eye that he wanted to do his best job and he did." Harang is expected to fly back to Cincinnati and make his next start on Monday vs. the Brewers. Reliever Ricky Stone's contract was purchased from Triple-A Louisville to replace Harang on the 25-man roster. To make room for Stone on the 40-man roster, pitcher Eric Milton (elbow) was transferred the 60-day disabled list. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has not returned from his bereavement leave, which runs out after Friday. Gonzalez has been in Cincinnati since Saturday to be with his ailing 10-month old son and missed his sixth game Thursday. It was not known when Gonzalez might return. If he needs more time past Friday, putting him on the restricted list is an option so the Reds don't have to play shorthanded. "It's a possibility. We're not there yet," Krivsky said. Homer hurting: Top pitching prospect Homer Bailey was placed on the Louisville's seven-day disabled list Thursday because of a strained right groin. Bailey was on the DL with the same injury from May 14-21. Doing well: Former Reds star Ken Griffey Sr. is continuing to recuperate from prostate cancer surgery. Griffey Sr., who had his operation performed July 10 in Miami, hoped to watch his son play during the Marlins series. "I'm fine. I'm relaxing right now and taking it easy," Griffey Sr. said Thursday. "I'll try to go to a game because at this point this season, I haven't seen him play much." Griffey Sr. scouts the Florida State League for the Reds. Coming up: Kyle Lohse (5-11, 4.68) will pitch for the Reds against the Marlins and Scott Olsen (7-7, 5.15) Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.