Sunday, August 06, 2000

Injured Larkin may miss 5 games

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Barry Larkin hurt his left knee stealing second Friday night.
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        A sprained medial collateral ligament in Barry Larkin's left knee could sideline the shortstop for as many as five games, which would keep him inactive through the upcoming series against the Atlanta Braves.

        “The timing is going to be two to five days, depending on how I feel,” Larkin said Saturday. “And I feel terrible today. Worse than I felt yesterday.”

        Team physician Dr. Tim Kremchek said Larkin, who's wearing a brace and receiving twice-daily treatment, is “really questionable” for the Atlanta series unless his recovery accelerates rapidly.

        Larkin said he jammed his knee as he slid into second base on a successful fourth-inning steal Friday night.

        The severity of the injury wasn't immediately obvious; Larkin continued playing until he left the game as part of a double switch in the ninth inning.

        “It got worse as the game went on,” Larkin said.

        Though Larkin said he did nothing unusual as he slid, he said the unusually unforgiving dirt around second base gave him extra, and perhaps unwanted, momentum.

        “The dirt was really hard. I didn't slow down at all,” Larkin said. “You saw Dmitri (Young) when he slid into second base (on a ninth-inning double); he almost slid right past. You just didn't stick at all.”

        It has been a somewhat trying year for Larkin, despite the three-year, $27 million contract extension he signed July 23. He spent 24 days on the disabled list in April and May with an injured left hand. He dislocated his left pinky finger July 26, though he missed no games as a result. And now this.

        “If it's not one thing, it's another,” said manager Jack McKeon, who has lost five members of his projected Opening Day lineup to the disabled list at various times this year — Larkin, third baseman Aaron Boone (torn ligament in left knee), first baseman Sean Casey (broken right thumb), right-hander Pete Harnisch (shoulder) and catcher Eddie Taubensee (bulging disk in back).

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