Notes: GM says Kearns isn't on block

Notes: GM says Kearns isn't on block

CLEVELAND -- Austin Kearns is staying put. In more ways than one.

Kearns didn't get the callup from Triple-A Louisville on Friday, as the Reds opted to fill the injured Kenny Kelly's spot with third baseman Edwin Encarnacion.

Apparently, Kearns shouldn't make plans to leave Louisville anytime soon.

Reds general manager Dan O'Brien said before Friday's game that Kearns will remain in the Cincinnati organization and will not be traded.

"We are not interested in trading Austin Kearns," O'Brien said. "He's in Louisville with a very specific program, and the goal is to get him back to being the player we know he's capable of being, wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform."

O'Brien would not comment on the specifics of the program. All he would say was that it is "diverse in nature."

O'Brien said that Kearns wants to stay in the Reds organization, despite reports to the contrary.

"[Kearns'] comment was, 'I'd like to play the rest of my career here in Cincinnati, Ohio, if that's possible,'" O'Brien said.

Less than two weeks ago, though, Kearns hinted at taking a job elsewhere, if the opportunity were available.

"We've got an outfield problem here," Kearns said on June 12. "We've got guys who can play every day who are trying to establish themselves as everyday players. Even if I go down and come back, it's still going to be the same situation. It just comes to a point in everyone's career where you want to establish yourself and be in there every day.

"It's going to be hard for this to be a positive if I stay here. Just the way some stuff has happened. If I come back [to the Reds], or if I get a chance to play somewhere else, I just want to play in the big leagues."

Since arriving in Louisville, Kearns has put up solid numbers, batting .379 with a home run and six RBIs in seven games.

Drug violation: Jeffrey Bruksch is the first player in the Reds organization to commit a drug violation under the new union policy.

A pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts, Bruksch was 3-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 2005. He'll sit 15 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. And the punishment might not stop there.

"We support the Commissioner's drug program and the subsequent penalty," O'Brien said, "and we do not condone the use of any illegal drugs in our organization. Period. Underline. Exclamation point.

"I would say there's a good chance of [further punishment]. The specifics will not be made public."

   Ryan Freel  /   CF
Born: 03/08/76
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 180 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Freel still out: Ryan Freel missed his fifth game in a row Friday because of a sore toe.

Although the injury is improving, Freel said he still hasn't tested it enough to know if he's close to being ready to play.

"I haven't even tried to run," Freel said. "I can feel it just walking, so I don't know if it'll be any better running, but we'll see. It does actually feel a little better today, so we're going in the right direction."

Doctors told Freel that the reason for his injury is a degenerative toe. His second toe is longer than his big toe on his left foot, causing pain when there's pressure on the front of his foot, he said.

Reds report: The Reds have had a winning record in Interleague Play just three times (1997, '98 and 2003). This season, the team is 6-6 heading into its final set, three games against the rival Indians. Overall, the Reds boast a 54-67 (.446) record against American League opponents in the regular season. ... The Reds are 15-21 all-time against the Indians in Interleague Play, including 1-2 this season. ... Jerry Narron is the first Reds manager to win his first two games with the club since Lou Piniella won nine to begin the 1990 season.

Down on the farm: Kearns went 2-for-3 with a homer Thursday in Louisville's 10-9 loss to Charlotte. Jason Romano, Alex Pelaez, Alex Fernandez and Steve Lomasney also had multiple hits in the game. ... Led by D'Angelo Jimenez's three-hit night, Chattanooga beat Birmingham, 10-1. Jimenez doubled twice in the game and plated four of the team's runs. Picking up the win was Phil Dumatrait, who pitched eight innings, only giving up the one earned run. ... Every player in the lineup had a hit Thursday in Dayton's 12-5 victory against Fort Wayne.

On deck: The Reds continue their intrastate rivalry against the Indians on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Luke Hudson (1-1, 5.63 ERA) will take the mound against right-hander Jake Westbrook (4-9, 4.57 ERA).

Kyle Jepson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.