There's a great question when -- and even if -- Scott Rolen will return to Reds

There is no timetable for injured veteran third baseman Scott Rolen's return to the Reds, and there seems to be an uncertainty now whether he will be able to make it back at all.

Rolen's troublesome left shoulder landed him on the disabled list a week ago, and no one can say for sure when -- or even if -- he will return.

"Hopefully, he gets back,'' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's such a big part offensively, defensively and even baserunning. I can tell 'em what to do to. But he can tell 'em and show 'em what to do.''

Pressed as to when Rolen might return, Baker said, "I really don't know.'' Others around the team suggested the return is not certain at any date.

This is Rolen's last year on his contract and very likely his last year in baseball. But he badly wanted to avoid spending time on the disabled list, a frequent spot for him in recent years. The shoulder has been bothering him off and on for seven years.

When he went on the D.L. a week ago, Rolen told Reds writers, "I'm not healthy right now. As much as I want to help the team, I'm hurting the team.''

"This is the second year we miss Scott big time,'' Baker said. "But he wasn't Scott. He couldn't swing effectively.'' Rolen was hitting .174 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.

Baker said things were looking better for Rolen in spring training, but the manager said, "Things started to deteriorate, and he lost range of motion.''

It's a big loss for Baker, who likes to have great veterans to help with a team that relies on a lot of young players. New Jersey product Todd Frazier entered today's game hitting .298 with three homers, including two in New York at Citi Field. But Frazier doesn't do for this team what a healthy Rolen would do.

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