Thursday, September 21, 2000


Injured should return Friday

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SAN FRANCISCO - Manager Jack McKeon said center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. (left hamstring), Casey (right hamstring) and Stynes (back) should be ready to return to the lineup for Friday's series opener against Houston at Cinergy Field, following today's scheduled off-day.

        The newest injury belonged to Casey, who hurt himself Tuesday night. Casey said he could have played Wednesday night had the game been crucial to the pennant race. “But I don't want to risk blowing out my hamstring and miss ing nine days,” Casey said. Casey said his back felt tight before the game. The sensation spread to his hamstring as he ran out his second-inning double — which some observers thought struck the top of the right-field wall and should have been ruled a home run.

        “I got to second base and my hammy kind of locked up on me,” Casey said. “Coming home (on Chris Sexton's two-out single) was an adventure. When (third base coach Ron) Oester sent me, I said, "Oh, boy.'”

        LOOPY LINEUP: These injuries forced McKeon to unveil an entirely new batting order. “It's some kind of crazy lineup,” he said.

        Reese, who had led off since Aug.28, hit second for the first time this year. Ochoa received his first start in the cleanup spot. Sexton was elevated to sixth, despite his .194 batting average.

        ETC.: McKeon said he hasn't settled on his pitching rotation beyond the Houston series. Monday's scheduled off-day affords him the option of skipping a starting pitcher.

        ăThe Reds played before their third straight sellout crowd at Pacific Bell Park and their 34th overall this year. Cincinnati's per-game road average of 37,349 leads the majors.

        UP NEXT: The Reds begin their final home series Friday against the Houston Astros. Cincinnati's Elmer Dessens (9-5) and Houston's Jose Lima (7-15) are the probable starters.


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