CINCINNATI – The precipitous decline of Braves first baseman Troy Glaus has become a glaring issue, never more than the first two games of the weekend series with the Reds.
After going 0-for-5 with five groundouts on Friday, Glaus went 0-for-4 with two groundouts, a pop-up and a strikeout in Saturday’s loss.
Glaus has hit .158 (17-for-107) with no home runs and six RBIs in his past 31 games, including 4-for-30 on the nine-game trip that ends Sunday.
What’s puzzling to some Braves officials and teammates is that Glaus’ skid began immediately after a torrid stretch in which he was named National League Player of the Month in May. He hit .316 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 47 games May 1 to June 20.
He went from that tear to one of the dreadful stretches of his career — and one of the toughest to watch.
Glaus, 33, has been slowed by foot and knee injuries this season, and has hobbled more noticeably in recent weeks. He’s also appeared to have difficulty making scoop plays at first base that he made routinely earlier in the season, including one play Saturday that resulted in a throwing error charged to shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
Gonzalez back in lineup
Ready or not, Alex Gonzalez was back in the lineup Saturday after missing two starts due to gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. He went 0-for-4 and grounded an inning-ending double play with bases loaded in the first inning.
Second baseman Martin Prado was sidelined after fracturing a finger in Friday’s game, so utility man Omar Infante, the primary backup shortstop, started at second base Saturday. Infante went 3-for-5 and raised his average to .339.
Manager Bobby Cox said he appreciated the effort by Gonzalez, who had to be taken to a hospital on Friday after waking at 4 a.m. with stomach pain.
“He’s still not 100 percent,” Cox said. “I admire him for going out there.”