Friday, September 29, 2000
Hand finishes Reese's year
By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MILWAUKEE Pokey Reese's season, which has appeared finished for all practical purposes, now is officially done.
The Reds second baseman returned to Cincinnati to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging examination today on his bruised left hand, which hasn't improved since he was struck by a fastball from San Francisco's Russ Ortiz Sept.20.
Reese has endured repeated problems with his hand. He first injured it July 26, 1999, when Los Angeles' Ismael Valdes hit him with a pitch. That caused him to miss seven games and nine starts.
Reese reinjured the hand late in spring training this year. The reigning Gold Glove winner also sprained his right ring finger while sliding headfirst as he stole a base in this season's exhibition opener.
Though Reese's hand isn't believed to be seriously hurt, his chronic problems and slow recovery prompted the Reds to seek definite answers.
There wasn't going to be anything to accomplish here, Reds trainer Greg Lynn said, adding that he wouldn't anticipate seeing Reese rejoin the team during this weekend's season-ending series at St. Louis.
STARTING SWITCH: Because Pete Harnisch had nothing left to accomplish this season, he and the Reds' braintrust jointly decided to scratch him from his scheduled start in tonight's series opener at St.Louis.
Said Harnisch, I think it'd be more of a positive thing for somebody else.
Pete's here for next year, said manager Jack McKeon, speaking under the assumption that Reds management will pick up Harnisch's $3.75 million option. He's done all he can do. He has pitched great. He doesn't need the extra win.
Ron Villone (9-10) does, so he'll replace Harnisch and receive the opportunity to even his record at .500. It'll be Villone's first start since Sept.14, when he allowed six runs in four innings in a 6-4 loss to Milwaukee.
We thought it would be a perfect time to give Villone another crack, McKeon said. He added that should Villone earn the victory, that would be a plus for him coming into next year.
Said Villone: Numbers are things we go by in sports. But that's not my first goal. My first goal is to keep the team in position to win and go deep into the game. This time of year, I'm not going to look at it as a (chance to get) a 10th win. If it comes out that way, I'll go home and smile a little bit better.
RE-PETE: Harnisch's season isn't necessarily over. McKeon hinted that he also might name a new starter for Sunday's finale, which has been earmarked for Steve Parris.
I'm available if they need me to pitch, Har nisch said.
It will be a crucial game if the Cardinals still have a chance to finish with the National League's best record. The team earning that status wins home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the postseason.
I can honestly tell you I have not looked at the standings or anything that has to do with baseball for three weeks, Harnisch said.
THROUGH THE YEARS: Though Mike Bell's two-run homer in Wednesday night's ninth inning might have seemed relatively insignificant, it added another coating of nostalgia to the closing of County Stadium.
It made County Stadium the only ballpark in which all three generations of Bells have homered. Mike Bell was preceded by his grandfather, Gus, and his father, Buddy.
It's just great, Mike Bell said. It's another memory that will stick with me.
Bell happened to homer on the same night that his brother, David, hit one for Seattle. This was a milestone for the Cincinnati-based family, too.
I didn't get a chance to talk to Dave. But I talked to my dad (Wednesday) night, Mike Bell said. I think he was as happy as me or Dave. He really worries about us. When we both have a good night, it makes it a little easier. He can relax for a day.
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