Encarnacion benched for not running out pop fly
PHOENIX -- Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron benched cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion after he failed to run out a pop fly in the first inning of the Reds' 3-2 victory over Arizona on Wednesday night.
"I don't care if we lose every game, we're not going to play guys that don't hustle," Narron said. "Simple as that."
After popping to Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson with runners at first and third and one out, Encarnacion returned to the dugout with his bat in his hand. Narron, who had been watching the flight of the ball, allowed Encarnacion to take the field in the bottom of the inning. But the manager went back to his office after the inning and looked at a videotape that showed Encarnacion had not run to first.
"I was watching the ball," Narron said. "I wasn't watching Eddie. If I'd have been watching Eddie, he would have never taken the field.
"He told me he did not see the ball where it was, but you've still got to run," Narron said.
Narron said the 24-year-old Encarnacion, in his third big league season, has always hustled for him. He added that Encarnacion likely would be back in the lineup when the Reds open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field on Friday.
"I love him," Narron said. "I think he's going to be a great player. He messed up. But doggone it, you can't be messing up in this game like that by not hustling. If you don't know where the ball is, you run until you find out where it is.
"He has never dogged it," Narron said. "It was probably an honest mistake, but it was a mistake."
Encarnacion offered no argument, although he said he didn't run because he thought he had fouled the ball out of play.
"I understand," Encarnacion said. "He likes everybody to play hard, run the bases and hustle in the game."
After speaking to reporters, Narron called Encarnacion into his office for a brief chat.
"He told me to keep playing hard," Encarnacion said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press