Sunday, July 04, 1999

The bad news: Harnisch still in pain

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Pete Harnisch started for the Reds despite shoulder pain.
(Thomas E. Witte photo)
| ZOOM |
        Pete Harnisch did not look like a winning pitcher after the Reds' 10-0 victory over the Houston Astros Saturday night. From his postgame expression, you would have thought he lost 10-0.

        Harnisch pitched six innings, allowing only four hits and a walk while striking out two.

        But Harnisch clearly was not happy afterward. The reason was that his right shoulder is still sore.

        “It's the same,” he said. “No better, no worse.”

        Which is bad news for the Reds. Harnisch has been the Reds' most reliable starter. Saturday night's effort raised his record to 8-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.25.

        The trouble started when Harnisch had to come out of a start against the Kansas City Royals on June 6 after 1 innings.

        He hasn't missed a start. But Saturday was the sixth straight outing in which he has failed to go seven innings. This from a guy who went seven-plus in seven of his first 11 starts and who has pitched two of the Reds' three complete games.

        “It's tough,” Harnisch said. “I've been working through it for a month.”

        Harnisch worked out of a first-and-second, one-out jam in the first inning. After that, only one runner advanced into scoring position against him. That's testimony to Harnisch's toughness and the experience of pitching nine years in the big leagues.

        “My stuff wasn't great,” he said. “I threw enough fastballs for strikes around the knees that they laid off the high fastball. But my breaking ball wasn't that good.”

        The Reds scored six runs in the fifth inning to take an 8-0 lead. Harnisch may have tried to go further.

        “But with the score,” Reds manager Jack McKeon said, “we said, "Go ahead and get six and get out.'”

        Dennys Reyes, who relieved Harnisch, needed the work anyway.

        “We want to get him sharp again,” McKeon said. “He worked three innings, so hopefully that'll sharpen him up.”

        Reyes earned his first save for his effort. Three effective innings gets a save, no matter the score.

        Harnisch expects to make his next start, barring a setback. He'll continue the same treatment he has gotten for the last month.

        “We're not going to change anything,” he said.


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