Though the Cincinnati Reds appear to be in good position to reach the postseason, they still can't afford to see the injuries begin to pile up.
The Reds hope to go injury-free Thursday when they try to take their four-game home set from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
One night after starter Tony Cingrani left with a strained lower back in the fourth inning of a 5-2 loss, reliever Jonathan Broxton apparently re-aggravated a right elbow injury in the eighth of Wednesday's 10-7 victory.
While it appears Cingrani will make his next scheduled start Sunday, Broxton's status remains uncertain.
The veteran set-up man missed almost two months this season with an elbow injury.
"It was disheartening to go get Broxton,' manager Dusty Baker said. "I went out with (pitching coach) Bryan Price. BP said, `He's done.''
Third in the NL Central, Cincinnati (72-55) is 2 1/2 games behind first-place Pittsburgh, but has a six-game lead over Arizona (65-60) for the final wild-card spot. That still doesn't mean the Reds can afford injuries to key contributors down the stretch.
A healthy Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer Wednesday as the Reds won for the 11th time in 15 games.
Choo was 1 for 7 in the first two games of the set, but broke out for his second four-hit game of the year as Cincinnati prevailed despite almost blowing an 8-0 lead.
"It was the epitome of a full moon,' Baker said. "We were riding easy 8-0, then all the sudden it was 8-4. A lot of stuff happened. Those guys (Diamondbacks) didn't give up."
Scheduled Cincinnati starter Mat Latos (12-4, 3.02 ERA) was a tough-luck 2-0 loser at Milwaukee on Saturday, allowing two runs in seven innings. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA in his last six starts.
"That's just the way the game goes," said Latos, who allowed both runs in the fourth inning of his last start. "Two runs will beat you on any given day.'
He's given up three runs while winning two straight against the Diamondbacks. One of those runs came when he matched a career high with 13 strikeouts over 7 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win June 23 to improve to 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts against them.
Arizona All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is 2 for 8 versus Latos, but 8 for 22 (.364) with two homers and seven RBIs in the last five games.
Teammate Gerardo Parra, who homered off Broxton on Wednesday, is 6 for 16 against Latos.
The Diamondbacks hand the ball to Trevor Cahill (4-10, 4.78), who hopes for a better performance than Saturday in his return from a 1 1/2-month stint on the disabled list with a hip injury.
Cahill allowed four runs on two homers in five innings, but Arizona won 15-5 at Pittsburgh.
"I didn't pitch great, but we won, so I'm just going to use that as positive and look at some video and work on some stuff," Cahill, who went 0-6 with a 7.91 ERA over his previous eight starts, told the Diamondbacks' official website.
This will be the right-hander's first appearance against the Reds, but Choo is 4 for 6 with three walks in their matchups.
The Associated Press News Service
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