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Parra stays ready with Reds lacking need for relief

SAN DIEGO -- Just like most of the Reds relievers lately, left-hander Manny Parra has been idling behind the bullpen door and not getting into games. Of the eight-man relief staff, Parra has gone the longest without being used, since June 20, when he threw only four pitches vs. Toronto..

Parra, who leads the team with 34 appearances, was used a lot in April and May.

"I get a little more excited because it's been awhile. I've been through stretches before and you look at as, it's just rest," Parra said before Tuesday's game vs. the Padres. "There are times where we're getting used a lot. We're playing well and that's all that matters. We're winning ballgames. I try to look at the positive side of it. The more rest we get now, the more fresh we'll be for those crucial games later."

Parra was finally summoned in the sixth inning of an 8-2 loss to the Padres on Tuesday. He threw only one pitch -- for a strike -- to Seth Smith, but did not retire his batter. That's because Devin Mesoraco threw out Jake Goebbert trying to steal second base to end the inning. The Reds pinch-hit for Parra in the top of the seventh.

The Reds rotation entered the night 10-2 with a 2.43 ERA in the past 19 games. In early June, the bullpen was used heavily, but since Cincinnati blew an 8-0 lead in a June 20 loss to the Blue Jays, a starter has gone at least seven innings all but once in the past 10 games.

"Relievers, we're there out of necessity. If you don't need us, then we're not going to get used. It's the way it is," Parra said. "Our starting pitchers have been doing great."

Parra has been trying to stay busy, and prepared, for when he is needed.

"Those times can be used to get familiarity with the mound. There's always a fine line though of keeping yourself fresh for the game," he said. "You try to use your catch that day and focus on it and see if there is something you could be working on. I know I feel like I'm working on something every day."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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