Jerry Hairston is very close to coming back, but the Reds are trying to be careful with him:

Hairston remained in the dugout Thursday, Aug. 7, against the Houston Astros, even though he ran the bases hard in front of trainer Mark Mann and hitting coach Brook Jacoby.

“It went good, real good,” said Hairston of the hamstring test. “We’ll see how it reacts tomorrow. I’m hoping a couple of days. What I don’t want is a setback.”

Neither does manager Dusty Baker, which is why he is being cautious.

“When he comes back we want him in there every day,” Baker said. “We know, by his record, what he means to us.”

Hairston has been a fine player for the Reds this year. He’s really had a good season; at least, it’s been good when he’s been able to play.

Go look at Hairston’s career stats. Tell me which season doesn’t look like the others.

Why would anyone think that Hairston will duplicate the 192 great ABs that he’s had this year? Isn’t is more likely that Hairston will be more like the player who put up an OPS below 700 (!) in more than 2500 ABs before this season?

Hairston is a nice little player to have on the bench. He’s versatile, won’t kill you at any position, and he’s fairly athletic (when healthy)…but an everyday player, he isn’t. If a guy has two hot months at age 32, it doesn’t mean he is a great player all of a sudden.

If it’s up to Dusty Baker, I’m sure Hairston will be the Opening Day center fielder next year. One can only hope that GM Walt Jocketty has more sense than that.