Monday, August 12, 2002

Boone knocking on the door of elite 30-30 club

Power surge puts him on pace for 31 homers, 35 stolen bases

By John Fay,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Aaron Boone celebrates as he rounds the bases after his two-run 12th inning homer.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        Aaron Boone has heard about it from his teammates, and he admits that he's thought about it. Boone's recent home run binge has put him on pace to hit one of baseball's sacred numbers: 30-30, as in 30 home runs and 30 stole bases.

        He had a home run and stolen base Sunday, giving him 22 homers and 25 stolen bases for the year.

        That puts him on pace to finish with 31 homers and 35 stolen bases. Only two Reds have had a 30-30 season -- Eric Davis (37 homers, 50 steals in 1987) and Barry Larkin (33 homers, 36 steals in 1996).

        While 30-30 is in reach, Boone says he won't try to do anything differently to reach the mark. He's doesn't try to hit home runs.

        “They seem to come in bunches for me,” he said. “I'm not a big strong guy who's going to just miss a fly ball and still have it go out.”

        Boone has been hitting home runs at an impressive clip. Eight of his last 14 hits have been homers.

        “I feel on top of my game,” he said. “I feel like I'm capable of (getting to 30-30). My teammates bring it up all the time. It's crossed my mind.”

        LARKIN BACK: Barry Larkin was back in the lineup Sunday after missing Saturday's game with a stiff neck.

        Larkin's neck had “locked up” in a muscle spasm three times in the last week. Each time he was able to return to play after an adjustment by a chiropractor.

        Larkin had an MRI of his neck taken Saturday.

        “It was no different than the one four years ago,” Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek said.

        Larkin is day-to-day.

        Larkin hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning of Sunday's game to extend his hitting streak to seven games.

        MORE LARKIN: Larkin hasn't committed an error since July 3 -- a span of 28 games. That's his longest errorless streak since a 28-game streak from July 21 to August27 in 2000.

        SURGERY FOR PINEDA: Right-hander Luis Pineda will have shoulder surgery Thursday. He'll likely be out nine to 12 months.

        MORE SURGERY: Scott MacRae, a 27-year-old right-hander for the Reds' Triple-A club at Louisville, will have “Tommy John” surgery Thursday. MacRae pitched in 24 games for the Reds last year. He was 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA at Louisville this season.

        WHOOPS: Chris Reitsma's name was listed on the Reds lineup card before Sunday's game. Reitsma, of course, is pitching in Louisville.

        Bench coach Ray Knight mistakenly listed Reitsma in place of John Riedling, much to amusement of his teammates.

        “Say hello to (Louisville manager Dave) Miley for me, J.R.,” Adam Dunn said.

        FARM REPORT: Left-hander Ty Howington struggled in his second start at Single-A Stockton. He went 42/3 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits, in a 7-1 loss to Bakersfield.

        This year's top pick, right-hander Chris Gruler, allowed three runs on four hits in three innings in Single-A Dayton's 4-3 win over Michigan.


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