Monday, May 03, 1999

REDS NOTEBOOK


Boones compete for real this time

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Danny Neagle pitches against the Braves Sunday.
(AP photo)

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        ATLANTA — The first act of Boone vs. Boone didn't scar the protagonists emotionally or psychologically. But it wasn't just another game, either.

        Reds third baseman Aaron Boone and his older brother, Atlanta Braves second baseman Bret Boone, played against each other for the first time Sunday. Well, almost for the first time.

        “Maybe Wiffle Ball,” Aaron Boone said. “Or intrasquad games.”

        Aaron Boone said he felt slightly odd during Friday's pregame meeting when the team met to discuss strategy against the Braves' lineup and the subject turned to how to pitch to Bret, a Red from 1994-98. The conflicting feelings returned Sunday, when Aaron Boone, who didn't play in the first two games, started at third base.

        “It's a little different when he's up there and you're pulling for him to make an out,” Aaron Boone said.

        Added Bret Boone, who at 30 is four years older than Aaron, “It's weird. It's like playing against two people. Of course, as your brother, you always want him to do well. But you don't want him to beat us with a big hit.”

        In the Reds' half of the fourth inning, Bret Boone approached his brother, who reached safely on an error and advanced to second on Brian Johnson's RBI single. The siblings briefly spoke.

        “It was just normal chit-chat. Nothing jaw-dropping,” Aaron Boone said.

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Jeffrey Hammonds and Mike Cameron, right, slap gloves after Cameron caught a Chipper Jones pop-up in the fourth inning.
(AP photo)

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Trade talk denied
        Though Peter Gammons' reputation as a baseball authority is beyond reproach, Reds General Manager Jim Bowden quashed the ESPN analyst's Boston Globe report citing “rumblings” of a deal that would send left fielder Greg Vaughn to the Red Sox.

        “There's absolutely nothing to it,” Bowden said. “We expect Greg Vaughn to hit and continue to do what he's done throughout his career.”

        Vaughn, who hit .272 with 50 homers and 119 RBI last year, went 0-for-3 Sunday, dropping his batting average to .203 with four homers and 13 RBI. The Red Sox reportedly had interest in obtaining Vaughn before Cincinnati acquired him from San Diego in a Feb.2 trade.

Trip from Parris
        The Reds are expected to call Steve Parris from Triple-A Indianapolis in time to start tonight's series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Cinergy Field.

        Parris, the last pitcher cut in spring training, was among the Reds' most effective starters toward the end of the season last year, posting a 5-2 record with a 2.61 ERA in his last eight outings. That included a 7-inning scoreless stint against Arizona Sept.12 in a 3-0 Reds victory.

        Parris was 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 18 appearances last year, including 16 starts. He had no record and a 3.28 ERA in four starts with Indianapolis this season, walking six and striking out 21 in 24 innings.

Inverse strategy
        Twice during this series, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox employed strategy that flouted the time-honored “percentages” — and got away with it.

        In Saturday's eighth inning, he summoned right-handed reliever Rudy Seanez to face Michael Tucker, a left-handed hitter, even though lefty John Rocker was warming up in the bullpen. Seanez induced Tucker to hit into a force play.

        Sunday, Cox replaced left-handed starter Odalis Perez in the sixth inning with right-hander Kevin McGlinchy, even though left-handed pinch hitter Mark Sweeney was obviously going to bat. McGlinchy didn't flinch, ending the inning by striking out Sweeney with Pokey Reese on second base.

Etc.
        • Outfielder Dmitri Young remains day-to-day with bruised ribs in his right side. Manager Jack McKeon hoped to have the switch hitter available today, but Young, who was in considerable pain, wasn't so sure. “Last night I didn't sleep so hot,” he said.

        • The switch-hitting Chipper Jones has four home runs in 25 right-handed at-bats this season. He had only three right-handed in 377 at-bats in 1997-98 combined.

       



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