Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Lefebvre still swinging

Has unfinished business as hitting coach

By John Fay, jfay@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Adam Dunn is tagged out by St. Louis second baseman Fernando Vina while attempting to steal during the third inning.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        ST. LOUIS — Reds hitting coach Jim Lefebvre would like to return next year. “But that isn't up to me,” he said. “It's up to (Reds manager) Bob Boone.”

        Lefebvre came out of retirement at Boone's urging to take the job.

        “I've enjoyed it,” he said. “It's been fun. I like working with players again.”

        Lefebvre has enjoyed mixed success. The Reds have struggled offensively, but Austin Kearns and Reggie Taylor, both rookie outfielders, have developed into good major league hitters.

        “Working with the young players has been the best part,” Lefebvre said. “That's one of the reasons I took the job. I wanted a chance to work with all the young talent here.”

        FERNANDEZ BACK: Knuckleballer Jared Fernandez returned to the Reds on Monday, becoming the team's only true September call-up so far.

        “It's good to be back,” Fernandez said. “I'm ready to go.”

        Fernandez made two starts and one relief appearance at Triple-A Louisville after being optioned there. He was hit on the left knee by a line drive in his last start and was forced to leave the game.

        “I thought it was going to pretty bad,” Fernandez said. “But I stayed up all night icing it. It was OK the next day.”

        Fernandez threw on the side Sunday and was available to pitch Monday.

        GRIFFEY OUT: Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr.was out of the Reds' lineup for the fourth straight game after aggravating his sore hip flex/quadriceps last week.

        Is it getting better?

        “I don't know,” Griffey said. “I'm getting treatment.”

        Griffey has missed 89 starts this year with three different leg injuries.

        “I think it all goes to that hamstring injury,” Boone said. “We keep trying to fix it, but other things keep popping up.”

        RIEDLING WEDNESDAY: Right-handed reliever John Riedling will come off the disabled list as expected after throwing a successful bullpen session Sunday.

        “He looked good,” Boone said, “really good.”

        ROTATION SET: With an off day Thursday, the Reds will use a four-man rotation for the time being. Chris Reitsma, the fifth starter, will be skipped, but he is available for bullpen duty.

        OLD BUDDIES: Jose Guillen was handed a message in the visitors' clubhouse. It read: Call Akili Smith.

        Guillen, the newest Red, is friends with the Bengals reserve quarterback. The two played together for three years in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor-league system.

        “He was pretty good,” Guillen said. “But he didn't like baseball. He was always talking about football. We couldn't wait for baseball to get over so he could play football.”

        Guillen and Smith lost contact after Smith gave up baseball for football.

        “We'll get together now that I'm with Cincinnati,” Guillen said.

        UP NEXT: The Reds take on the Cardinals in the second game of a three-game series at 8:10 p.m. today. Reds right-hander Jimmy Haynes (13-8, 4.14 ERA) takes on St. Louis righty Woody Williams (6-4, 2.79).


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