Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Griffey won't play on road trip

By John Fay jfay@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MILWAUKEE — Ken Griffey Jr. isn't in Milwaukee and it doesn't look as if he's coming to Pittsburgh, so the earliest the outfielder could return to the Reds' lineup is Friday when they open a three-game home series with the New York Mets.

        But even that's not a given.

        “We've really upped the program over the weekend,” Reds medical director Dr.Tim Kremchek said. “He did a lot of strength training and running. We'll see how he responds to that over the next couple of days.”

        But Kremchek wouldn't put a specific date on Griffey's return. There is also the possibility that Griffey will go on a rehabilitation assignment.

        Griffey has been on the disabled list since June 25 because of a strained right hamstring. His absence is much harder for the Reds to overcome now that slugger Juan Encarnacion has been traded to the Florida Marlins. With the Reds' offense struggling and the team trying to hang in the National League Central race, Griffey's bat could make a huge difference.

        “This is a crucial time,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “We put a finger in the dam and we're trying to hold it. You want to get as close to a perfect time (for Griffey's return) as you can. But you don't want it a day too late, and you certainly don't want to go a day too early.”


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