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Kearns mired in 3-for-36 slump

CINCINNATI -- Slumping Reds outfielder
Austin Kearns will
try to turn around his season in the minor leagues.

Kearns, batting .224, was sent down to Triple-A Louisville on
Sunday. The former prized prospect hasn't started since June 5
after losing his spot in right field to Wily Mo Pena.

Cincinnati also placed catcher Jason LaRue on the bereavement
list. LaRue returned to his home in Texas to attend the funeral of
his grandfather. He won't be eligible to play until Wednesday.

Kearns was in a 3-for-36 slump and has hit just .176 with
runners in scoring position this season. He had six homers and 25
RBI in 51 games.

After a promising rookie campaign in 2002 when he hit .315 with
a .407 on-base percentage, Kearns has battled an assortment of
injuries and played in just 146 games the last two seasons.

He missed 84 games last year during two stints on the disabled
list for a broken forearm and an injured thumb that required
surgery. When healthy, he hit only .230 with nine homers and 32
RBI. He also missed half of the 2003 season because of a shoulder
injury that required surgery.

To replace Kearns and LaRue, Cincinnati purchased the contract
of outfielder and former Miami quarterback Kenny Kelly from
Louisville and recalled catcher Dane Sardinha.