Friday, March 09, 2001

Reds Notebook

Larkin, Griffey return

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SARASOTA, Fla. — Barry Larkin, sidelined by a sore groin after homering in the exhibition opener against Cleveland, started at shortstop and played five innings.

        Larkin went 0-for-2 with a walk and made a slick fielding play in the third inning when he fielded Doug Glanville's tricky bouncer and threw out the fleet Phillie.

        Ken Griffey Jr., who hadn't played since Saturday while nursing a sore left hamstring, lofted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Bruce Chen in Cincinnati's five-run fifth inning. Boone said he plans to ask Griffey to be the designated hitter in today's game against Boston in Fort Myers.

        Aware that a veteran such as Griffey might balk at making the 90-minute bus ride, Boone jokingly said: “I'll talk to him in the morning. I'll try to arm-wrestle him to DH.”

        AARON'S ASCENT: Third baseman Aaron Boone again excelled as he continued to shake off the rust from his inactivity following knee surgery Aug.8.

        Boone played five innings and went 1-for-3, roping a fifth-inning RBI double off the left-field wall in the fifth. He also made an outstanding fielding play when he went to his knees to backhand Pat Burrell's fourth-inning smash.

        “That ball was behind him, and it took a bad hop,” Bob Boone said. “That's as good as you can do it right there.”

        Adjusting to playing again is more of an issue for Aaron Boone than overcoming his injury — which in itself is progress.

        “Now it's just a matter of seeing things that come up in games, things you haven't done in several months,” he said.

        PHILADELPHIA STORY: The appearance of the Phillies prompted a series of questions for Bob Boone about his bond with them.

        “I'll probably always be a Phillie,” said Boone, who spent the first 10 of his 19 major-league seasons with Philadelphia. “I have a lot of ties there.”

        Boone, who interviewed for Philadelphia's managerial opening after Terry Francona was fired last year, said he would have been comfortable had he secured that job because of “my roots there, and the people.”

        Boone remains friends with his former teammate, Larry Bowa, who is the new manager. In fact, Boone was in Bowa's wedding 30 years ago. But Boone said that would be forgotten once their respective teams meet in the regular season: “We plan to beat his butt. And Larry's not going to like it. And if he beats my butt, I'm not going to like it.”

        ETC.: Nothing monumental occurred during the Reds' briefing from Players Association chief Don Fehr, despite the possibility of a work stoppage after this season.

        “We discussed stuff that probably everyone's talked about — what (club) owners are thinking and what players are thinking,” first baseman Sean Casey said.

        • As expected, the Reds hired former major-league coach Dave Oliver to replace Lenny Dykstra as manager of the Mudville Nine, their Single-A affiliate in Stockton, Calif.

        • Triple-A hitting coach Brook Jacoby was named one of the 100 greatest Cleveland Indians by a panel of veteran baseball writers, historians and executives. Jacoby, a former third baseman, enjoyed the best of his 11 big-league seasons with Cleveland and was an American League All-Star with the Indians in 1986 and 1990.

        • The Reds reassigned non-roster catcher Victor Valencia to minor-league camp, trimming the spring roster to 55 players.


Reds Stories
Graves grows into leadership role
Ballpark passes wind test
Injury won't keep Young out long
- Larkin, Griffey return
Game report: Reds 8, Phillies 4

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