He still wasn't in manager Dusty Baker's lineup Sunday, the fifth consecutive game that Bruce will sit with a sore right side, and he'll likely miss Monday's series opener in Colorado as well. But the Reds are hopeful that Bruce, hitting .274 with 18 homers and 58 RBIs, will return this week.
The Reds aren't penciling in an exact day, however.
"I don't want him until he doesn't feel it anymore," Baker said Sunday morning. "Running, throwing, hitting ... when he comes back, I want him to stay back."
Bruce went down at the worst possible time, not simply because it's September, but because he was red hot when he hurt his side. From the time the Cardinals swept the Reds in Cincinnati in early August until he was hurt on Aug. 30, Bruce was batting .396 with eight homers and 15 RBI over 16 games.
In his absence, the Reds have played with an outfield of Jonny Gomes in left, Drew Stubbs in center and Chris Heisey in right. With Jim Edmonds and Laynce Nix banged up, those three are pretty much locked in. The Reds have been hitting fly balls to infielder Miguel Cairo and view him as an option in an emergency.
"But hopefully, we don't need him," Baker said.
Especially in Colorado's Coors Field, where the outfield is one of the league's biggest.
"You need Willie Mays, Curt Flood and Paul Blair out there in Colorado," Baker quipped.
Likes: The Cubs dedicating a statue of Hall of Famer Billy Williams on Tuesday. Great outfielder, great guy. ... The Cardinals planning to move back to 50,000-watt KMOX next season, which was their radio home for 51 years through 2006. Hope Detroit follows suit and re-connects with WJR sometime soon. Part of the reason for the huge fan bases of some of the Midwestern teams is that even people who couldn't get to games could pull in the radio signal from thousands of miles away. I know things are different now with television and satellite radio, but I still think the move to smaller radio stations for more lucrative contracts was short-sighted. ... Glad to see Notre Dame win under new coach Brian Kelly. College football is better when the Irish are good. ... What a great ending to the LSU-North Carolina football game Saturday night. ... The baby back ribs at Joe Buck's joint in downtown St. Louis. ... The weather this weekend. Sunshine, 70s, no humidity, just a gorgeous weekend with a hint of fall in the air. Perfect baseball weather, great for the opening of football. "These are the prettiest days I think I've ever seen in St. Louis," Reds manager Dusty Baker said Sunday morning. "I'm serious." ... Ah, memories. My dad had a Plymouth Valiant, too, but it was green (see rock 'n' roll lyrics below). First car I drove.
Dislikes: The combination of the Cubs' awful season and St. Louis' fade has the Cardinals offering tickets to the Cubs' series at Busch Stadium later this month at 50 percent off. How about that?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I was sitting with Mary
"In my dad’s blue Valiant
"Rain was coming down
"And the radio was playing
"Mary was talking
"A million miles a minute
"I could not hear one word she was saying"
-- Marc Cohn, Listening to Levon