Thursday, February 27, 2003

Larkin, Casey to miss spring opener



SARASOTA, Fla. - Manager Bob Boone plans to keep shortstop Barry Larkin and first baseman Sean Casey out of the starting lineup today when the Reds open their exhibition schedule against the New York Yankees in Tampa.

"We'll probably have our main guys the first four days," Boone said. "But I don't think Barry needs to go to all of the games. There really isn't any big reason, but three of our first four games are on the road."

Larkin turns 39 on April 28. Casey is coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery and won't play until sometime next week. He is taking batting practice pain-free, but Boone wants to be cautious.

With Casey out, rookie outfielder Wily Mo Pena will play first base and could be a backup there when the season starts.

"It's a way to get him some at-bats, and I think he has the aptitude to play that position," Boone said.

The Reds play Boston at Fort Myers on Friday, Minnesota at home Saturday and Pittsburgh at Bradenton on Sunday. The starters for those games are Ryan Dempster, Danny Graves, Paul Wilson and Jimmy Haynes.

Haynes was backed off his normal schedule last week after developing tenderness in his right shoulder. He hasn't thrown off a mound since Friday, skipping batting practice on Monday, but is scheduled to throw Thursday.

Pitching coach Don Gullett said Haynes' shoulder isn't a concern.

"He feels better," Gullett said. "He probably could have thrown live batting practice, but it's early in the spring, so we didn't want to push him. He's still playing catch and a lot of other activities, so he should be fine."




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