Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Reese 'frustrated' by trade talk, slump

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Pokey Reese's Monday night outburst was a vivid reflection of what occasionally creeps into the Reds infielder's mind as he tries to cope with his professional struggles.

        “I am frustrated,” Reese said. “But thinking about that stuff's going to make it even worse.”


        “That stuff” is trade rumors that have surrounded Reese since April.

        Though scouts from several teams returned Tuesday night to Turner Field, none of the teams represented — Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle — had an obvious need for a salary-arbitration eligible second baseman-shortstop earning $3.2 million, as Reese is.

        Said Reese, “I have no control of that. I've been trying to get myself better. I haven't been playing that well; the team hasn't been playing well ... I don't worry about that trade stuff.”

        Reese's .223 batting average hasn't hiked his value. Nor will sulking, which is what he did in Monday's eighth inning when manager Bob Boone removed him for pinch hitter Todd Walker. Reese slammed down his bat in the on-deck circle, then flung it toward the dugout rack.

        Reese didn't start Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves, but that wasn't because Boone was punishing him. “Pokey's been go ing every day,” said Boone, referring to Reese's streak of 19 consecutive starts. Boone announced before Monday's series opener that Reese wouldn't start Tuesday.

        The rest gave Reese a break from a two-month batting slump. He has hit .184 (30-for-163) since May 30, dropping his average from .270.

        Reese said he's returned to the basics to try to snap out of his funk.

        “I'm just trying to make solid contact,” he said. “I've tried everything else — moving my hands, my feet, staying back, all that stuff.”


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