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Reds lose ace through NL playoffs

CINCINNATI — The Reds dropped injured RHP Johnny Cueto from their NL Division Series roster Wednesday, replacing him with RHP Mike Leake a few hours before Game 4.

Major League Baseball granted permission for the move at 11:30 a.m., less than five hours before the first pitch.

Cueto pulled muscles in his side during the first inning of the series opener Saturday night. The injury continued to bother him four days later.

Cincinnati was reluctant to make the move because it also leaves Cueto ineligible to pitch in the NL Championship Series, should the Reds advance.

"It's tough taking your potential Cy Young guy out of your rotation," general manager Walt Jocketty said.

NO TAKING THE BAIT: Pete Rose might be focused on Derek Jeter's hit total, but Jeter isn't. At least, that was the message the Yankees shortstop trumpeted Wednesday.

"I'm not talking about Pete Rose, man," Jeter said. "We're trying to win a game here."

Rose told the Sports on Earth website this week that his hits record of 4,256 remains safe from Jeter, who has 3,304 hits. The former Reds star believes that at age 38, Jeter's window will close before he has a chance to make a serious run at the record.

Jeter left Wednesday's win over the Orioles with a sore left ankle, replaced by Jayson Nix after he limped out of the batters' box to end the eighth. Jeter had an X-ray and said he will play tonight.

SAUNDERS NEXT: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said LHP Joe Saunders will start Game 4 tonight against the Yankees.

Saunders, 31, was 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts after he was acquired from the Diamondbacks on Aug. 26. Showalter had been debating between him and RHP Chris Tillman.

"We don't truly have maybe a one, two, three, four, five kind of rotation," Saunders said. "We have maybe a couple twos, maybe a couple threes, maybe a four, whatever. Like Buck says, whoever is pitching that day is the ace.

MISSED IT: First-base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call in the Nationals-Cardinals game when he ruled Washington batter Danny Espinosa out after he bunted with a runner on and no outs in the second inning. Replays showed that Espinosa beat the throw by a half-step. Joyce, widely regarded as one of baseball's best umpires, famously blew a call at first to ruin Tigers RHP Armando Galarraga's bid for a perfect game in 2010.

AROUND THE MAJORS: Montreal will name a street and a park after Expos Hall of Fame C Gary Carter, who died in February of cancer at age 57. … The Red Sox have Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach on their list of managerial candidates, the Boston Herald reported.

Reds lose ace through NL playoffs 10/10/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 1:15am]
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