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Strained muscles sideline Stubbs for a few games

The Associated Press

 

CINCINNATI — Drew Stubbs will be sidelined for at least a few days with strained muscles in his left side, forcing the Cincinnati Reds to look for more options in center field.

The Reds called up utility player Kristopher Negron from Triple-A Louisville before a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. Negron, who will make his major league debut, can play all three outfield positions as well as anywhere in the infield.

Infielder Mike Costanzo was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Costanzo appeared in 17 games and was hitless in his last 11 at-bats, going 1 for 18 overall.

Stubbs is batting .235 with seven homers and a team-high 13 steals for the NL Central leaders. He’s their best defensive center fielder.

Stubbs pulled muscles in his left side while swinging at a pitch in the seventh inning of an 8-4 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night. He was removed from the game as a precaution in the eighth, replaced by Wilson Valdez.

He was examined again on Wednesday before the second game of the series. Manager Dusty Baker said he’ll need some time off.

“We’re hoping (only) a couple of days,” Baker said. “But you’ve really got to be careful with those things. If you end up tearing that thing, you could be out for a long, long time.”

Stubbs wasn’t available while the clubhouse was open to the media.

The 27-year-old outfielder is one of the Reds’ most durable players. He played in 150 games in 2010, when the Reds won the division, and in 158 last year. He has never been on the disabled list in the majors.

“Stubbie is a guy that doesn’t complain about anything,” Baker said. “So if he says something’s wrong, something’s wrong. He plays through a lot of stuff.”

The Reds also can use Chris Heisey in center field. He started there on Wednesday. Negron, who batted .212 with five homers and 15 steals at Louisville, gives the Reds another option.

“He’s been playing center field down there and with Stubbs on the shelf, that’s what we needed,” Baker said. “Hopefully, we won’t have to put him on the DL. We’ll see.”

Negron was with Louisville in Syracuse when he got the call to report to Cincinnati.

“I took a 6 a.m. flight to Louisville, stopped by the ballpark and grabbed as much stuff out of my locker as I could and drove up here,” Negron said. “I made sure I drove the speed limit.”

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