By Kevin Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The daughter turned to her father three weeks ago with a question.
"Daddy, how long have you been playing baseball?" the 7-year-old asked.
Ken Griffey Jr. counted up the seasons, whizzing by the achievements and accolades, to reach the answer.
"Fifteen years," he said Friday. "She looked at me and goes, 'You're old.' "
Griffey, who doesn't turn 34 until November, certainly is an elder when compared to many in the Reds clubhouse.
Cincinnati has the second-youngest 40-man roster in the majors.
"One day you're the kid," Griffey said, "and the next day you're the veteran."
Following a roller-coaster offseason that included the near-trade to San Diego, Griffey the veteran has looked sharp in his first two spring training games.
He hit a towering three-run homer off Red Sox starter John Burkett in the second inning of Friday's 12-7 loss at the City of Palms Park.
"I'm just trying not to strike out, see as many pitches as I can to try and get ready," he said. "The first couple of days of spring training, you're trying to get your timing. It'll come, but you have to be patient."
The focus this spring will continue to be keeping Griffey healthy while preparing for the regular season.
Griffey's games-played total has decreased in each of his past four seasons - from 161 in 1998 with Seattle to 70 last season.
He has batted .275 with 70 homers and 206 RBI since the Reds traded for him in 2000, missing considerable time during the past two years with various leg injuries.
"Hopefully, we can keep him feeling good," manager Bob Boone said. "Right now we're seeing what you'd expect from one of the all-time great players that's working himself into baseball shape."
Griffey, who spent the offseason working with personal trainer Dave Oliver to strengthen his legs, is 1-for-4 with two runs and four RBI in two games thus far. He is expected to play the next two, against the Twins today and Pirates on Sunday.
"I think he's really motivated," Boone said. "It's probably the first time in quite a while that he's felt good.
"He wants to do well. He's a very motivated player. That's what we expect of him."
If he's healthy I know he will (produce). That's been the issue since Day 1."
Red Sox 12, Reds 7
The bats: The Reds were winning this one 7-5 when the regulars called it a day. Before they took the rest of the day off, they beat up on the Sox pretty badly. Wily Mo Pena, Ken Griffey Jr. and Aaron Boone homered, as did Brandon Larson - sort of. Larkin, in his first outing of the spring, had two hits. Boone had two hits for the second straight day.
The arms: Starter Danny Graves allowed four runs on six hits. Rule 5 pick-up Jerome Gamble allowed three runs without recording an out against the team from which the Reds picked him. John Riedling allowed three hits and three runs in an inning of work.
The rest: Larson's home run was ruled a single when he passed Ruben Mateo while rounding first base.
Up next: The Reds open at home against the Minnesota Twins in a 1:05 p.m. game (WLW-AM 700). Right-hander Chris Reitsma will start against left-hander Eric Milton.
|Larkin ss||3||1||2||0||Damon cf||3||1||2||1|
|Olmedo ss||2||0||0||0||Brown cf||3||0||1||1|
|Boone 2b||3||1||2||1||Mueller 3b||1||1||0||0|
|Dawkins 2b||1||0||0||0||Youkilis 3b||2||0||1||0|
|Griffey Jr cf||3||1||1||3||Walker 2b||3||1||2||0|
|Taylor cf||2||0||0||0||Santos 2b||2||0||1||0|
|Kearns rf||3||0||0||0||Ramirez lf||3||0||1||0|
|Thomas 1b||1||0||0||0||Collier pr-lf||2||1||1||0|
|Cruz 1b||1||0||0||0||Millar 1b||3||0||1||1|
|Brown rf||0||0||0||0||Snyder 1b||2||2||2||0|
|Dunn lf||3||0||1||0||Zuleta dh||2||1||1||0|
|Smithrmn lf||2||0||0||0||Ortiz ph||1||2||1||0|
|Mateo dh||3||1||1||0||Nixon rf||3||1||1||0|
|Guerro ph-dh||1||0||0||0||Crespo rf||1||1||0||1|
|Larson 3b||4||1||2||1||Mirabelli c||3||0||0||1|
|Crespo 3b||1||0||1||0||Loyd c||2||1||2||4|
|Pena 1b-rf||2||1||1||2||Jackson ss||3||0||0||1|
|CMiller c||2||1||1||0||Sanchez ss||1||0||0||1|
E-Olmedo, Kearns. LOB-Cincinnati 7; Boston 10. 2B-Dunn, CMiller, Sardinha, Walker, Millar, Ortiz, Nixon. HR-Boone (1), Griffey Jr. (1), Pena (1), Damon (1), Loyd (1). SF-Sanchez.
HBP-by Heredia (Crespo).
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