SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -Shortstop Alex Gonzalez is expected to miss the Cincinnati Reds' first few spring training games with a sore knee.
Gonzalez sat out an intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday with a bone bruise in his left knee, which also bothered him at the end of last season.
``We will hold him out a couple of days,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ``It's better to find that out now than later.''
Gonzalez batted .272 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs in his first season with the Reds. He didn't start a game after Sept. 12 because of a bone bruise in the same knee. Dr. Timothy Kremchek will examine the 31-year-old shortstop on Friday.
Gonzalez missed 28 games while on the bereavement list three times and the restricted list once last season, when he was dealing with his son's illness.
Baker plans to hold left fielder Adam Dunn and right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. out of the first two spring games so he can look at some of the Reds' younger players. Baker also is trying to decide who could bat leadoff.
The top two candidates are center fielders Ryan Freel, who has a history of injuries, and Norris Hopper, who batted .329 in 121 games last season. Asked who might bat first if one of those two isn't available, Baker said, ``I hope one of the two will be in the game.''
Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt and right-handers Matt Belisle and Homer Bailey, all of whom are competing for spots in the rotation, will start the first three spring games.
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