Reds option 3B Encarnacion to Triple-A Louisville

CINCINNATI -- Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was sent to
the minors Thursday by the Cincinnati Reds, who grew weary of his
inconsistent hitting and fielding.

Encarnacion was optioned to Triple-A Louisville a day after his
two throwing errors set up three unearned runs and a 3-2 loss to
the Houston Astros. The Reds called up infielder Jeff Keppinger to
replace him.

Keppinger was hitting .411 with no homers and two RBIs for

Encarnacion was hitting .218 after going 3-for-16 on the Reds'
homestand. His six errors were the most on the roster.

He had a pair of two-out throwing errors that extended innings
and set up all of the Astros' runs Wednesday night, when the Reds
lost for the seventh time in eight games and fell into last place
in the NL Central.

"Last night was a tough game for us to lose and a tough game
for him personally," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "But I
don't want to say last night was the reason. There were other
things leading up. He'd get on a little bit of a stretch where he'd
show some consistency, but it wasn't for long. It's up to him now
to get down to work and prove us wrong, that he belonged here all
the time. I'm confident he can."

The 24-year-old infielder hit .276 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs
last year, his first full season in the majors. He also had 25
errors, and the Reds stressed the importance of improving his

Ryan Freel can play third base while Encarnacion tries to
regroup in the minors.