Stubbs returns, Reds at full strength again

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds activated center fielder Drew Stubbs from the disabled list before the opening game of a series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, restoring their everyday lineup to full strength.
   
Stubbs went on the DL June 15 after pulling muscles in his left side during a swing. He played a three-game rehab stint at Class-A Dayton over the weekend without problem.
Stubbs said Monday that he still feels tightness in his side at times, but the pain is gone.
“It felt pretty good, for the most part,” Stubbs said. “Being 100 percent at any point in the season is kind of few and far between. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent, but it’s pain-free.”
The Reds sent OF Willie Harris to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot. Harris was called up when Stubbs got hurt and went 2 for 9 in six games, including a pair of starts.
The Reds now have two players on the DL — reliever Nick Masset and closer Ryan Madson, who is out for the season following reconstructive elbow surgery.
While Stubbs was hurt, the Reds missed their top stealing threat. Stubbs leads the team with 13 stolen bases; no one else has more than four. Cincinnati is last in the National League with 32 steals.
“Stubbs is back,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully he’ll give us a spark and a jolt. He’s our No. 1 speed man. That’s the thing you’re losing without him in the lineup, and I love speed. There’s no substitution for it.”
The Reds have been in first place in the NL Central since May 24, entering the series against the Brewers with a one-game lead over Pittsburgh. Baker hopes that getting Stubbs back can help the Reds make a strong push into the All-Star break.
“You want to finish in a flurry,” Baker said. “And when this is over, you want to start the second half fast.”