Reds put Cozart on 15-day DL

Published 6:50 pm Monday, July 25, 2011

CINCINNATI (AP) — Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart had his left arm encased in a bulky brace, supported by a sling over his shoulder, as he walked through the Cincinnati Reds’ clubhouse on Sunday.

That’s going to be his uniform for a while.

The Reds placed Cozart on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, one day after he sprained his left elbow while trying to make a tag at second base. Paul Janish, who opened the season at shortstop but struggled and was demoted on July 7, was called up from Triple-A.

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Cozart’s injury was another notable setback for the fourth-place Reds. He hit safely in his first seven games after his first promotion to the majors, injecting a spark into a struggling offense. He could be out for longer than two weeks.

“I don’t really know too much,” Cozart said. “I know I’ve got a lot of swelling and pain in there.

“It’s very frustrating. I was just starting to get comfortable up here, get my routine down. It’s a tough break.”

Cozart covered second base on Derek Lowe’s bunt to first baseman Joey Votto, who tried to get the forceout on Nate McLouth. The throw was toward the sliding runner. Cozart reached for the ball and McLouth slid into the arm, bending the elbow backward.

“I just felt a little something pop,” Cozart said. “I don’t know what happened really. I’ve been in that situation a lot. I guess I just hit him perfect where it bent the elbow back.”

Edgar Renteria had a stomach ailment, but replaced Cozart and drove in three runs, leading a comeback from a 2-1 deficit. Renteria was in the starting lineup for Sunday’s game.

Shortstop has been one of the biggest trouble spots for the defending NL Central champions. They let Orlando Cabrera leave after last season rather than pick up his $4 million option. Janish was the backup last season and got the starting job this year, but struggled at the plate.

Janish was batting .227 without a homer when he was sent to the minors to work on his swing. He batted .256 at Louisville, showing improvement lately.

“It’s one of those situations where you’ve got to kind of take advantage of the circumstances, even though they’re not ideal,” Janish said. “I kind of had to swallow it and say some adjustments have to be made, for sure. The last week or 10 days I have felt better, and as consistent as I have in some time.”

The Reds gave Janish the starting job based on his improvement at the plate last season, when he batted a career-high .260 with five homers and 25 RBIs. He knew he could lose the job if he slumped, and ended up putting pressure on himself. The time in the minors allowed him to relax.

“I let it snowball on me in terms of being hard on myself,” Janish said. “That was probably the biggest adjustment. There was no revolutionary mechanical adjustment, I don’t think. It was more of a mental thing. I’m definitely in a better spot now.”

Manager Dusty Baker plans to use both shortstops.

“The way Edgar’s starting to come on pretty good now, it’s kind of mix-and-match with both of them,” Baker said. “This is sort of Edgar’s time of the year. Looks like he’s looser, his bat speed’s better, he’s moving better.”