Lehr for Maloney on Friday

RHP Justin Lehr will make the start for the Reds on Friday vs. the Pirates instead of LHP Matt Maloney, who has a blister on his middle finger. It’s the same finger that blistered on Maloney earlier this month in Colorado.

“The doctor today recommended that he not pitch for fear it could get worse,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s something that we don’t want to become chronic.”

Lehr wasn’t expecting to get another start before the end of the season….surprise.

“I was part relieved to think I wasn’t going to pitch and part excited now to get another shot to win my sixth game,” Lehr said. “They told me to stay ready just in case and be ready to pitch. It happened a lot quicker than I thought.”

That means Maloney finished the season 2-4 with a 4.87 ERA. Over his final three starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA. Especially since he’s the only lefty starter on the 40-man roster, you’d have to think he’s made himself a candidate for the rotation’s fifth spot in 2010. Am I wrong?

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Nix 7
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

OF Chris Dickerson was activated from the DL, where he had been since Aug. 25 because of a severely sprained ankle. Dickerson’s return means the Reds have eight outfielders on the active roster.

That’s some kind of crowd.

“It’s OK,” Baker said. “It’s better than when I had too few at one time. I remember when my hands were tied because we were operating shorthanded for a third of the season.”

The active roster has 37 players overall. I don’t remember a time when it’s been that loaded since I’ve been covering the team.

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I give Maloney a shot. It will be either him or Owings. I resign Lehr to give them depth at AAA too. This way you have Lehr and Wood @Louisville for injuries/illnesses.

With a winning season staring at the team, and a potential playoff push, quality SP depth @AAA would be required in my mind. It will be interesting to see where the #1 draft pick ends up to start 2010.

I dont know about everyone else, but I love the Reds’ lineup. They got off to a slow start offensively, but still got the job done. They have tons of depth! Unfortunately, this was an uncharacteristically bad year when it comes to injuries and our great depth just wasnt enough. A lot of guys came through and had great years, better than expected: Johnny Gomes and Laynce Nix in particular. When the rotation was weak, some guys stepped in and were great substitutions like Homer Bailey and Justin Lehr, making them arguably ready for a future starting rotation. Despite a bad couple months (June and July especially) the Reds have come back and shown that they have a passion to win and produce. These guys are feeling what its like to win and I think they will continue to do so next year and hopefully for years to come.

Mark, what do you make of all this winning? Does it mean that even with a tight payroll, we can contend next year with the 40-man roster we already have? Or is it just the end-of-season spasm of a bad team, like we’ve seen before? It doesn’t feel like that so much this year, because the pitching’s been so good and the hitting’s come around. They’ve been thumping other teams, not just wining ballgames. Okay, we have 8 outfielfders to choose among for next year, but are they 8 major league outfielders? Does even one of them come without a large question mark attached? The starting pitching looks good (it’d look great with Volquez in the rotation – if he were healthy, the 5-man would be set). The bullpen looks strong if we can hold it together. Janish is a good backup, but not the starter at SS. That’s why we move Phillips there and find a good alternative at 2nd. Cathcher’s a mess, a lost cause (except defensively), oh, well. Right now, we could be the Brewers – what will it take to be next year’s Cardinals?

maxblue — it’s been a good month, yes. There is reason to be optimistic but I’m also not going to get too giddy. The pressure is off, people are playing for jobs and it all starts over again next year. If Stubbs and Rolen are in lineup all of next season — that’s already a step ahead of this year with Taveras/Encarnacion.

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