Sunday, August 26, 2001

Nichting doesn't take demotion lightly

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONTREAL — Chris Nichting sat with his head down at his locker in the visitors' clubhouse for two hours after getting word Saturday he had been optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

        Nichting's demotion was the 84th roster move the Reds made this season. But this one left Nichting, who grew up a Reds fan and was getting his first extended stint in the majors at age 35, bitter and disillusioned with the organization.

        Reds manager Bob Boone explained the move by saying the team wanted to look at outfielder Robin Jennings, who was called up from Louisville.

        Nichting didn't buy it and was miffed at Boone and general manager Jim Bowden.

        “Is that their way of justifying not paying me for September?” he said. “They want to give a guy a look ... Come on.”

        The timing certainly looks curious. If the Reds had waited six days, they could have brought up Jennings without sending Nichting down. Boone also said there's no guarantee Nichting will be recalled Sept.1.

        If the move was economic, it will save the Reds only a little more than $40,000 — one sixth of Nichting's $250,000 salary.

        Nichting wasn't sure if he'd report to Louisville or not.

        “I really don't know,” he said. “I worked so hard at this game, harder than anyone in this locker room. This hurts me personally more than professionally.”

        Nichting had struggled lately. He allowed runs in six of his last seven appearances to raise his ERA to 4.45.

        Still, his ERA was lower than six pitchers who kept their spots with the Reds.


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