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Tomko unhappy with bullpen job

The Associated Press

The Reds moved Tomko into the bullpen temporarily Monday.

Tuesday, August 31, 1999

The Reds moved Tomko into the bullpen temporarily Monday. Parris, who has recovered from a pulled shoulder muscle, will come off the disabled list and start in Tomko’s place Friday in Philadelphia.

”I really don’t want to talk about it right now,” Tomko said, shortly after being informed of the move.

The plan is for Tomko to miss one turn in the rotation, then start again as part of a doubleheader next Tuesday in Chicago. Until then, he’s a reliever.

”It could be temporary, you know,” manager Jack McKeon said. ”Maybe it will do him good, give him a chance to relax for a few days and come back strong.”

Tomko is struggling through his toughest major league season, one that included a demotion to the minors. He’s 4-7 with a 5.19 ERA in 25 starts and one relief appearance and has given up 28 homers, eight more than anyone else on the staff.

In his last two starts, Tomko took the loss in Atlanta’s 6-2 victory Tuesday and was chased in the fifth inning of Montreal’s 8-6 victory Saturday.

PARRIS EAGER FOR RETURN: Parris, who went on the disabled list July 31, will be reinstated once rosters expand on Sept. 1. He can’t wait.

Parris was one of the Reds’ most consistent starters – 7-1, 3.45 ERA – when the pulled muscle forced him onto the DL. After two rehab starts for Triple-A Indianapolis, he’s healthy again.

”I threw 100 pitches in the second game, 70 of them strikes,” Parris said Monday. ”Everything feels good. I’m ready to go.”

The toughest thing was leaving the team in the middle of a playoff race.

”It’s been a long month,” he said. ”When I did it, I didn’t think it would take this long. But we wanted to get it right to make sure I don’t aggravate it again.

”But I’ve been itchy, I’ll tell you that.”

LaRUE GETS THE MESSAGE: When rookie catcher Jason LaRue was sent back to the minors July 31, he hoped he’d made a good first impression.

When he rejoined them, he knew he had.

The Reds recalled LaRue from Triple-A Indianapolis – even though they already had two catchers – when first baseman When they got a chance to bring him back sooner, they jumped at it.

”That makes me feel real confident. It shows what they think of me,” LaRue said Monday.

He wasn’t brought back to sit. McKeon had him in the starting lineup against Atlanta because he likes his defense.

”We were playing him before and we were winning, right?” McKeon said. ”And you want to stop those guys’ running game.”

LaRue did more than that. He homered, drove in a career-high three runs and had a career-high three hits in an 11-3 victory over the Braves.

While playing for Indianapolis in the past month, LaRue has kept close track of what the Reds were doing.

”Every night I wanted to know what the guys did,” LaRue said. ”I guess I still felt like I was part of the team because I had been here for six or seven weeks and contributed to the winning.”

CAMERON OUT: Center fielder Mike Cameron was out of the lineup for the third consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring, an injury he suffered Friday night in Montreal.

”It’s just tight today because I’ve been doing a lot,” Cameron said.

He’s never had a hamstring injury, so he’s not sure how to gauge it.

”If I’d had one before, I’d be able to explain it,” he said. ”But I’ve never had one before. Hopefully I have a quick-healing body.”