Saturday, May 27, 2000

REDS NOTEBOOK


Casey, teammates have fun in wrestling ring

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A handful of Reds spent Thursday's scheduled off-day participating in a wrestling benefit for the late Brian Pillman, a former professional wrestler, Cincinnati Bengal and Miami University athlete.

        First baseman Sean Casey thrilled the crowd at Xavier University's Schmidt Fieldhouse by “punching” a referee.

        “I was a special-guest referee, and he jumped in the ring to say I was a baseball player, not a referee,” Casey said. “He said, "Just play to the crowd and hit me.' The crowd was going crazy. It was unbelievable. He said, "Hold up your fist to egg them on, and hit me gently.' So I really didn't hit him (hard). I just hit him (in the middle of the neck) and he took the fall.”

        Reliever Danny Graves and outfielder Dmitri Young squared off against each other as managers for D-Lo Brown and Eddie Guerrero, respectively. “We got to hang out with some of the wrestlers. It was pretty cool,” said Graves, a longtime wrestling aficionado. “I feel like a 12-year-old telling you that.”

        ONE MORE DAY: With left-hander Jesus Sanchez starting for Florida, Reds manager Jack McKeon opted to play the percentages and rest Casey for one more day. Casey, who entered the game hitting .221, also didn't play Wednesday.

        “He'll be all right,” repeated McKeon, who used Young at first base while Alex Ochoa played left field.

        McKeon said he wanted to keep Ochoa sharp by giving him a start. Ochoa hadn't started since May 17.

        ETC.: McKeon said he hasn't heard from baseball officials about being fined for his remarks about the umpires after Monday's 4-3, 14-inning loss at Los Angeles. “I wasn't that far out of line, was I?” McKeon said. “You have to be hot at them once in a while.”

        Graves will host a party for 100 winners of the Multiple Sclerosis Read-A-Thon at the Newport Aquarium at 10a.m. today.

        UP NEXT: Two of the NL's promising rookie right-handers, Cincinnati's Rob Bell (3-3, 4.22 ERA) and Florida's Brad Penny (3-6, 5.4) will oppose each other as the series continues today.

       



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