Baker to use September callups cautiously

Baker to use September callups cautiously

Baker to use September callups cautiously
HOUSTON -- With the Reds eyeing a division title and postseason baseball, they won't be giving extended playing time to anybody they call up in September with the expansion of rosters.

"We're going for a pennant here," manager Dusty Baker said.

The Reds officially recalled four players -- reliever Logan Ondrusek, infielders Didi Gregorius and Henry Rodriguez, and outfielder Denis Phipps -- on Saturday. Ondrusek has spent most of the season in the Reds' bullpen, and Baker said he will return there.

Gregorius, Rodriguez and Phipps are getting their first taste of life in the big leagues. Baker, who was a September callup by the Braves in 1968, '70 and '71, brought the three position players into his office before Saturday's game and talked with them about how to stay prepared.

"It's a great time to learn how to play, where to play and notice mistakes," Baker said. "If you pay attention, you learn a lot. They're all pretty attentive young men. I explained to them some of the perils of being in the big leagues versus in the Minor Leagues."

The three certainly give the Reds a few more options late in the game. Baker can be more liberal with pinch-hitters and pinch-runners knowing he has extra players in the dugout. Gregorius is regarded as a stellar defensive shortstop, so he could be used as a replacement late in a game.

If the Reds clinch a postseason berth before the end of the season, Baker could also use the extra players and give his regulars a few days off.

On Sunday the Reds will officially recall catcher Devin Mesoraco, who was sent to Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 23. Mesoraco was in the clubhouse on Saturday. Right-handers Todd Redmond and Pedro Villarreal will join the team on Tuesday after the conclusion of Louisville's season.

Baker isn't worried about players without Major League experience struggling with nerves if they find themselves in a game.

"If you stay alert and stay in the game, it's the same game," he said. "You've just got another deck out there in the stadium. It's just about relaxing and doing your thing. I'll try to get them in when I can, but right now they're really here to aid us and help us more than anything."