MLB Insiders - Cincinnati Reds

The Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game series at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Right-hander Ian Snell will start for the Pirates on Friday night. The Reds will toss lefty Chris Michalak.

MLB INSIDERS

NOTES: Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky struck again Wednesday, acquiring another aged veteran. Left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, 32, was picked up from Toronto for a player to be named or cash.

Since Krivsky slipped into the GM's chair on Feb. 8, he has acquired 33 players, and Schoeneweis is the 21st to see time on the 25-man roster. When he enters a game, Schoeneweis will be the 27th player to make his debut with the Reds.

As did Krivsky, Schoeneweis graduated from Duke University. The lefty was a third-round pick of the Angels in 1996. This is his first foray into the National League after pitching for Anaheim, Chicago and Toronto, where he was 2-2 with one save and a 6.51 ERA in 55 appearances this season.

The Reds hope this third attempt to plug a lefty into the bullpen isn't another dicey injury problem. Eddie Guardado (sore forearm) and Rheal Cormier (sore buttocks) have been day-to-day propositions.

"He has started, he has worked out of the bullpen -- worked long, worked short, been a specialist -- he's done everything," manager Jerry Narron said. "He has very good numbers against left-handed hitters. He works fast and has been a groundball guy, and he has a lot of experience. He'll come in to get us out of situations against left-handed batters and maybe, at times, pitch one or two innings."

The Reds start a six-game homestand against divisional opponents when they meet the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday in the opener of a weekend series.

Cincinnati (62-59) has a one-game lead over Arizona for the wild card, but trails St. Louis by 2 1/2 games for the NL Central lead after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Cardinals on Thursday.

Chris Michalak (1-0, 6.75 ERA) -- who won for the first time in nearly five years his last time out -- gets the start for Cincinnati. The left-hander gave up a run and three hits over 6 2-3 innings Saturday in a 9-7 win over Philadelphia.

It was the Michalak's first appearance since May 2002 and first victory since September 2001, both while with Texas.

While with the Diamondbacks, he gave up two runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning of relief in his only career appearance versus the Pirates.

Ace Ian Snell (10-8, 4.67) looks to continue pitching well on the road for the Pirates when he starts the opener. The right-hander, who also leads the Pirates with 122 strikeouts, is 5-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 11 road starts this year,

Snell limited the Cardinals to two runs and five hits through seven innings of a 3-2 win on Saturday.

Snell made his only career start against the Reds on April 6, and didn't record a decision. He gave up four runs and 10 hits over five innings of the Pirates' 6-5 loss.

REPLAY: Ken Griffey Jr. homered on Thursday night, that put Cincinnati ahead in the seventh against the Cardinals Jeff Weaver with his 25th homer of the season. It also was the 561st of his career, which moved him within two of Reggie Jackson for 10th place on the career list.Then St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen took over. He tied the score with a home run in the seventh inning, then hit a winning single in the ninth that led St. Louis over the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 and boosted the Cardinals' NL Central lead back to 2 1/2 games.

--LHP Brian Shackelford was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday, the fourth time this season he has been sent back, despite not giving up runs in his last four appearances.

--3B Edwin Encarnacion had never hit two home runs in a game in his career until a week ago, but he hit two Friday in Philadelphia and matched it with two his first two times up Wednesday in St. Louis.

--RHP David Weathers hasn't recorded a save since May 7, but he still leads the team with nine. He lost the closer's role after blowing five save chances in a row, but in middle relief he has posted a 2.37 ERA over his last 19 appearances, dropping his overall ERA from 5.59 to 4.50.

BY THE NUMBERS: 192 -- Home runs hit in Great American Ball Park in the first 62 games, a 250-homer pace that would eclipse last season's record 246 hit in GAPB.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everybody since March has expected the wheels to fall off for us, but they haven't, and they won't." -- Reds' Manager Jerry Narron.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Gary Majewski went on the disabled list Aug. 7 with a sore shoulder. An MRI showed only that he has a fatigued shoulder and needs rest.

RHP Jason Standridge went on the disabled list Aug. 7 because of back spasms.

LHP Kent Mercker, who had been out since July 21 with left elbow inflammation, was activated from the disabled list on Aug. 7 but went right back on the DL on Aug. 12. He was scheduled to have season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery on Aug. 17.

RHP Matt Belisle went on the disabled list July 14 with a strained lower back.

RHP Grant Balfour has been on the disabled list all season with tears in his labrum and rotator cuff. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Dayton on July 10, but he experienced sore shoulder muscles July 16, and he was shut down.

LHP Brandon Claussen went on the disabled list June 17 with shoulder tendinitis. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on July 10, but he subsequently was slowed by back spasms. He resumed his rehab for Louisville on July 26, and pitched there until shortly before undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Aug. 14.

RHP Paul Wilson began the season on the disabled list after having shoulder surgery. He struggled in a start for Triple-A Louisville on July 20, and his rehab was on hold again.

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