Saturday, May 05, 2001

Larson makes Red for a day

By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Brandon Larson stepped into a major-league on-deck circle for the first time Friday night. And that's when it hit him.

        “It was a great feeling, it really was,” the Reds rookie said. “I look up at the scoreboard, and there I am on the big TV, swinging a bat. It gave me chills.”

        Larson, pinch hitting in the eighth inning, fouled out to first base. After the game, his whirlwind day ended with news that he was being sent back to Triple-A Louisville.

        The Reds had summoned Larson from Louisville less than 24 hours before, basically as an emergency backup with Barry Larkin (groin) and Aaron Boone (wrist) ailing slightly.

        Rob Bell will be recalled from Louisville to start today's game vs. San Diego. Bell, 2-2 with a 3.33 ERA for the RiverBats, will take the rotation spot belonging to Jim Brower, who will move to long relief.

        The circumstances didn't bother Larson, for it was the first time the former No. 1 Reds draftee (1997) had been called to the majors.

        “Pretty awesome,” a grinning Larson said. “When the manager (Louisville's Dave Miley) told me about it, I told him if that if he was kidding, I was gonna knock him out.”

        Larson, 24, knew his call-up could be brief. With Larkin and Boone improving healthwise since their Thursday night injuries, Larson was packing his bags again after Friday's game.

        “No hard feelings,” he said, shaking hands with his now-former Reds teammates. “I hope I'll be back, but no matter what happens, I'll never forget this night.”

        Larson was hitting .200 in 23 games for the RiverBats (1 HR, 10 RBI).


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