Tuesday, August 08, 2000
Sullivan likes Hunter's spirit
By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Scott Sullivan was mildly amused to have his recent antagonist, Brian Hunter, become a teammate.
He definitely has some spunk to him, Sullivan said with a grin, referring to their July 15 brawl. That's what we need.
Sullivan plunked Hunter with his first pitch, precipitating a melee that resulted in both players receiving a three-day suspension and a fine.
Sullivan had no hard feelings toward Hunter, the outfielder whom the Reds acquired Sunday from Colorado for minor-league right-hander Robert Averette.
I'm glad to have him as a teammate, Sullivan said. How could I criticize someone when, if I'm in that situation and I think I'm getting thrown at, I'd do the same thing? I like a person who will defend himself. I'm aggressive by nature; obviously he is, too. I'm looking forward to playing with him.
LEADING MAN: Hunter, who hadn't arrived at Cinergy Field when the Reds' clubhouse closed to reporters at 6:15 p.m., was batting first and playing left field in manager Jack McKeon's starting lineup.
Hunter's arrival could mean less activity for Dmitri Young, who had been receiving most of the playing time in left, as well as extra outfielders Alex Ochoa and Michael Tucker.
We're playing him today to see if we can't get something different going, McKeon said.
Alas, Hunter was 0-for-3 with two Ks. Young pinch-hit for him in the eighth and singled.
Though Hunter has mostly batted leadoff with his previous teams Houston, Detroit, Seattle and Colorado he hasn't been good in that spot. His on-base percentage while batting first last year with the Mariners was .285, compared with the major-league average of .349 for No.1 hitters. His leadoff on-base percentage from 1995-99 was .314.
KIESCHNICK GONE: To clear roster room for Hunter, the Reds designated first baseman-outfielder Brooks Kieschnick for assignment.
Kieschnick, who joined the Reds on July 19 after Hal Morris was traded to Detroit, bristled somewhat at being jettisoned after receiving only six at-bats.
I thought it was a little premature, said Kieschnick, who went hitless in his sporadic appearances. But they've got to do what they've got to do to win here, and they felt like they needed a speedy outfield.
Kieschnick, who was placed on waivers, will know by 1 p.m. Wednesday if another team claimed him. He'd prefer not to return to Triple-A Louisville, where the Reds assigned him.
I don't think I have anything else to prove by being in Triple-A, Kieschnick said.
LARKIN UPDATE: Shortstop Barry Larkin began rehabilitating his injured left knee, which should tell him how much longer he'll be out of the lineup. Until Monday, Larkin was doing what he called isolated exercises.
If it barks at me, I'll probably have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging examination), said Larkin, who has missed three games in a row with a mild sprain of his medial collateral ligament. The .320 hitter is expected to miss the rest of the Braves series, at a minimum.
It's not as sore as it was, but it's probably more swollen now than it was a couple of days ago, Larkin said.
GULLETT RETURNS: Pitching coach Don Gullett joined the team for the first time since undergoing cardiac-related tests last Friday at the Cleveland Clinic.
Mentally, I feel very much relieved, said Gullett, who hadn't been in uniform since feeling tightness in his chest during last Monday's game at New York. Gullett was found to have an irregular heartbeat.
Gullett was especially pleased to learn that the grafts doctors created in his 1990 triple-bypass surgery remained open. That was a mental burden lifted for me, he said.
SIGNINGS UPDATE: Assistant general manager Doc Rodgers said the Reds were a lot closer to signing two of their top four draft choices, right-hander Dustin Moseley and left-hander Ryan Snare. Moseley was a sandwich pick, the 34th overall, while Snare was Cincinnati's second choice in the second round.
We're right on the doorstep with them, Rodgers said.
Rodgers wasn't as upbeat regarding shortstop David Espinosa, the first-round selection, and catcher Dane Sardinha, the first choice in the second round. Both are represented by agent Scott Boras, known for his tough negotiating.
Espinosa has a full scholarship to the University of Miami, while Sardinha has one more year at Pepperdine University. Once they enter school, the Reds lose their rights to them.
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