As a pinch-hitter, Valentin was batting .193 (11-for-57) with no homers and nine RBIs. However, in 17 games as a starter this season, he's batting .345 (20-for-58), and hit safely in 15 of those games. When he was given more playing time in the second half of last year by former manager Pete Mackanin, Valentin played well.Although the Reds' third catcher, Valentin has played more at first base this season. Behind the plate, his defensive skills and arm have been rated below average. Valentin is playing out the $1.35 million option this season, which was part of the contract extension he signed in Aug. 2006. But the option was picked up when the Reds' general manager was still Wayne Krivsky. Walt Jocketty now makes those decisions. "I know what I can do," Valentin said. "I can do more than what I'm doing right now. I think I can help someone out."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.