Baker warns of perils of headfirst slides

Baker warns against headfirst slides

CINCINNATI -- With two Reds players injuring their shoulders on headfirst slides in the past two weeks, Reds manager Dusty Baker has made it a point to make sure his team recognizes the danger of that.

Especially on slides into home plate.

"Some of them have been doing it so long, it's a natural thing," Baker said of sliding into home. "A base is one thing, but at home plate, you have a catcher who can block the plate on you. You'll hurt yourself."

Infielder Danny Richar was the latest to go down with an injury from sliding headfirst into home on Wednesday during the third inning against the D-backs. He injured his left shoulder during the slide.

"Too many things that can go wrong," Baker said of headfirst slides. "You hate to have a guy learn that from the first time by trial and error."

Richar joins Wilkin Castillo on the disabled list with an injured shoulder. Castillo tore the labrum in his right shoulder sliding into first base June 20 against the White Sox.

Castillo had season-ending surgery July 1 and is expected to miss the rest of the season. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Friday.

Baker said as a player, after he injured his left knee, he had to learn how to slide with his opposite leg.

"Invariably I'd slide on my left leg, anyway," Baker said.

One player who took a step toward returning to the club is right-handed starter Edinson Volquez. Volquez has been out since June 2 with tendinitis in his throwing elbow. He successfully threw from 60 feet on Friday.

"I'm excited," Volquez said. "It was the first time in two weeks."

Volquez said he doesn't have a timetable to return to the club, but he expects to go on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Louisville before coming back to the Majors.

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Micah Owings (5-8, 4.63 ERA)
Owings pitched well in an 8-1 win over the Indians on Sunday, just one start after giving up a career-high six runs against the Blue Jays. Owings pitched six innings, giving up five hits and one run while striking out four and walking four. It was the first quality start by a Reds pitcher since June 21. Owings will aim for another on Saturday against the Cardinals. He is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in his only start against the Cardinals.

STL: RHP Brad Thompson (2-4, 4.69 ERA)
Thompson gave up four runs in six innings against the Giants on Monday. Three of the runs came on a home run by Travis Ishikawa. Thompson didn't pitch all that badly but was victimized by leaving a first-pitch fastball out over the plate that Ishikawa hammered. With Kyle Lohse nearing a return from the disabled list, Thompson is in need of a strong outing to stake his claim for the fifth starter's spot that he is battling for with Todd Wellemeyer. Thompson has gone at least five innings in five of his six starts and has finished six innings in three of his past four.

Homer Bailey pitched a career-high 7 1/3 innings against the Cardinals on Friday. He allowed three hits and walked two, but received a no-decision after the Cardinals rallied following his exit. ... Nick Masset left the game after Yadier Molina lined the ball off his right shoulder. ... Willy Taveras drew his first walk since May 23 in the ninth inning of Friday's game. ... Edwin Encarnacion doubled in the ninth inning, his first at-bat since being activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday.

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Up next
• Sunday: Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 8-7, 5.69) vs. Cardinals (Chris Carpenter, 5-3, 2.42), 1:10 p.m. ET
• Monday: Reds (Johnny Cueto, 8-4, 2.69) at Phillies (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Reds (TBD) at Phillies (J.A. Happ, 5-0, 2.96), 7:05 p.m. ET

Steve Gartner is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.