Rolen goes yard in return to Reds' lineup

Rolen goes yard in return to Reds' lineup

CINCINNATI -- Third baseman Scott Rolen was back in the Reds' lineup on Wednesday vs. the Mets, playing for the first time since Aug. 7. It was the morning after an off day on Aug. 8 that he had back spasms.

That was the second back issue this season for Rolen, who did not believe he would need to change his approach to playing, or play less, going forward to avoid having another back problem.

"I don't think so. I was playing as well as I've played all year," Rolen said. "I was coming off a day off. I was getting rest and I was feeling good, and it's one of those situations where -- whether it was a bus ride or whatever it might have been -- I woke up, it was a soft bed and I was on my stomach when I woke up. I don't know what happened. It locked up on me. I couldn't get out of it. I had a freak thing in San Francisco where for whatever reason, I took a funny swing in the batting cage and locked it up. I'm not going to go down the stretch here worried about locking my back up."

In the 15 games before he went down, Rolen was batting .367 (18-for-49) and he was batting .358 since the All-Star break to raise his overall average to .240.

Rolen showed he could move freely on Tuesday and took batting practice, which cleared the way for his return. The 37-year-old hoped to pick up where he left off, which he seemed to do in a 6-1 win over the Mets. While going 2-for-4, Rolen hit a second-inning double and fourth-inning solo homer to left field in his first two at-bats.

"I caught a little groove there during the All-Star break, and I was seeing the ball well and had a little better approach than I've had," Rolen said. "Hopefully, I can go back in there. I've been competing a lot better and more competitive with my bat, so I know I can compete for sure. We'll see how the results are."