HOUSTON, TX -- Rich Aurilia might not be starting in the field, but he does have an imporant job ahead of him.
When Aurilia came off the disabled list to find his starting position gone, he was less-than-thrilled. To make it up to him, some Reds offered their own infield playing time.
“He's more comfortable on the left side, so it makes sense for me to sit [so Aurilia can play third base],” said Joe Randa. “I'll be traded in a month anyway, so I might as well stop diluting my early numbers and rest up for my chance to play on a team in contention.”
Ryan Freel also volunteered to yield to Aurilia. “Rich can't be expected to play just anywhere,” said Freel. “No one should have to play at different positions than what they're used to. That's just asking too much.”
Felipe Lopez, who's been on an offensive tear since even before Aurilia pulled the hamstring that sent him to the DL, was also quick to offer up his job. “They made me move over [to second base] for him, so I know how hard it is,” said Lopez. “But I came out of it a better ballplayer. Maybe time on the bench will help me even more.”
“Plus, now that he's got that Segway thing, he's almost as fast as me,” Lopez added.
Despite the acquiescence from Randa, Freel and Lopez, Manager Dave Miley had other plans for Aurilia.
“Even though we only signed him to a minor league contract, Rich has proven himself and demonstrated the intangibles that are so important from your veteran leadership,” said Miley. “That's why he'll be filling the role of manager for today's game and going into the Colorado series.”
General Manager Dan O'Brien agreed with the decision. “Aurilia demonstrated his head for baseball when he refused to go on a rehab assignment for more than one day,” said O'Brien. “That's exactly the kind of executive decisions that we like to see our players making about themselves and each other.”
“Maybe next week I'll give him my job,” joked O'Brien.