Wednesday, February 03, 1999

Questions remain in outfield


Young likely to move to right

BY CHRIS HAFT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A skeptic might say Greg Vaughn must approach his power-hitting best if the Reds are to compensate for the extra runs their outfield allows.

        There's no question Vaughn, who hit 50 home runs last year, makes Cincinnati's lineup more potent. But the team's offseason goal of improving its outfield defense appears threatened.

        Both General Manager Jim Bowden and manager Jack McKeon said Tuesday Vaughn will play left field. That means Dmitri Young, who struggled at times in left last year, will move to right field — which typically demands a stronger arm and more polished fielding than left.

        But Reds brass aren't worried.

        “Dmitri's played a lot of right,” McKeon said. “Last year, Young started 85 games in left field, contrasted with 12 starts in right, but the St. Louis Cardinals tried him everywhere, including right, during his seven seasons in their organization.

        Young, who played at 260 pounds last year, has lost 15-20 pounds in the offseason, which should help his defense.

        Reds shortstop Barry Larkin is a baseball purist — “There were a lot of balls (in the outfield) that didn't get caught last year. Part of that was guys were out there learning or playing out of position,” he said — but he expressed faith in Young's adaptability.

        “Dmitri made tremendous strides in left field,” Larkin said. “By the end of year he turned out to be a pretty good defensive left fielder. He's young (25) and shows a lot of hustle. I don't think a move would make that much of a difference to him, because he's going to try as hard as he can.”

        Vaughn is no threat to win a Gold Glove. But nor is he a butcher. He committed just two errors in 277 chances last year for a respectable fielding percentage of .993.

        If there's a knock on Vaughn's defense, it's that shoulder surgeries have diminished his throwing prowess.

        “Greg has had his issues out in the outfield as well,” Larkin said. “But I don't think they went out and got him for his defense.”

        One player the Reds did acquire with defense in mind was Mike Cameron, the former White Sox speedster whose range in center could be tested while being flanked by Vaughn and Young.

       



Reds Stories
Vaughn makes Reds contenders
Tell us what you think
Vaughn pleads: Let me keep my goatee
Vaughn era could be short or sweet
Infographic: New lineup
Reds hit homer with Vaughn trade Tim Sullivan column
NL Central, look out
Larkin happy to stay now
Sanders glad to move on
Payroll pushed past $30 million

Other Sports Stories

Chargers' contact with Esiason 'a mistake'
Bearcats set sights on No. 1 seed
UC's 1999 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
UC defense needs help fast
XU in hunt for prep forward
OSU recruits guarantee bright future
Miami gets only shot at Bobcats
Payton, battling disease, needs new liver
Springboro wins battle of unbeatens


VAUGHN OF A NEW DAY

vaughn
GREG VAUGHN
• '98: .272, 50 HR, 119 RBI
Career stats


sweeney
MARK SWEENEY
• '98: .234, 2 HR, 15 RBI
Career stats

sanders
REGGIE SANDERS
• '98: .268, 14 HR, 59 RBI
Career stats

jackson
DAMIAN JACKSON
• '98: .262, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Trade coverage

Vaughn makes Reds contenders
Tell us what you think
Vaughn pleads: Let me keep my goatee
Vaughn era could be short or sweet
Infographic: New lineup
Reds hit homer with trade
Sullivan column
NL Central, look out
Larkin happy to stay now
Sanders glad to move on
Notebook

Reds page