By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SARASOTA, Fla. - Two days later, Scott Williamson decided it was just what he needed.
Williamson was referring to the shellacking he took Tuesday when he faced the Philadelphia Phillies. Williamson gave up four runs - all on Jim Thome's grand slam.
"That makes you concentrate more," Williamson said. "You don't want to breeze through spring training."
Williamson was doing just that before his latest outing. He had allowed only one run in five previous outings.
Tuesday, Williamson walked one and gave up two hits before facing Thome.
Williamson was just trying to throw a strike when he threw a first-pitch fastball to Thome.
"In the regular season, he ain't seeing a fastball," Williamson said. "It was nice. He crushed it. I don't give up cheap ones."
Williamson, a 27-year-old right-hander, is still feeling the effects of the fracture in the middle finger of his pitching hand.
"It isn't getting any better," he said. "But it's not swelling as much."
But Williamson doesn't like the idea of resting the finger.
"There's only seven days (of spring training) left," he said. "It's something I've got to pitch through."
Williamson said the finger had nothing to do with his outing against Philadelphia. But he has been tinkering with his mechanics.
"I'm trying to go a little quicker," he said. "I wasn't real comfortable with it. It wasn't nice and smooth. I was rushing.
"The next few outings I'm not going to worry about my mechanics. I'm just going to pitch."
WILSON OK: Paul Wilson felt fine Thursday after throwing two innings of a simulated game Wednesday.
He'll throw on the side today and pitch in a simulated scenario again Sunday.
Wilson, the projected No. 4 starter, knows he can't afford another setback.
"Time is running out," he said. "We're trying to push it without hurting it."
Wilson has been bothered by a strained hamstring. Before that, it was a pulled rib cage muscle.
"I feel fine," he said. "It's a matter of getting my body into pitching shape. The only way to do that is go out and pitch."
ON SULLIVAN: Right-handed reliever Scott Sullivan is probably available if a team makes the right offer. The Reds would like to lose his $2.8 million salary.
But that salary might keep the Philadelphia Phillies from trading for Sullivan.
The Phils are looking for a setup man now that Turk Wendell (elbow) doesn't look as if he'll be ready for the start of the season.
A Philadelphia scout was in Sarasota Thursday, but he said he doesn't expect a Sullivan deal to happen.
"He makes too much money (for us)," the scout said.
The Reds also would trade Gabe White, who makes $3.25 million.
Reds manager Bob Boone is planning to have both when the season starts.
"They're a big part of our ballclub," he said. "(Reds general manager Jim Bowden) talks to people all the time. I don't worry about that."
DOWN TO 33: The Reds have 33 players available in camp after catcher Corky Miller was optioned to Triple-A Louisville and outfielder Benny Agbayani was re-assigned to minor-league camp.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: The television in the Reds clubhouse was tuned to CNN - not the NCAA Tournament - before Thursday's game.
Gonzaga 74, UC 69
Referee to Machock: 'You're out'
Bobbitt wastes last shot
UC football staff set for 2003
Muskies planning to seize moment
Near upsets get XU's attention
Coach's intensity bringing out best in rookie Boothe
OTHER NCAA TOURNAMENT
Wildcats trying to keep their focus on IUPUI
Harper visits IUPUI
Daugherty: Crenshaw torn about playing during war
Satellite viewers at CBS' mercy
Three upsets and four that were close
East: Midgley shoots, California advances
Midwest: Tulsa upends Dayton; Wisconsin moves on
South: Okafor, UConn bounce BYU
West: Superior 'Zona handles exhausted Catamounts
NCAA Tournament at a glance
WOMEN'S REGIONAL TEAM CAPSULES
East | Mideast | Midwest | West
REDS / BASEBALL
How to customize your ballpark tour
Time for starters to take the field
Pirates 7, Reds 2
Bad outing good for closer Williamson
Players to decide on new All-Star format next week
Smith may return to Redskins
Crusaders set sights on another crown
Boys state tournament goes as planned
High school hoops schedules
Favored Lion Tamer draws outside spot
Pins not all-access passes to Derby
Tiger's spot not affected by mediocrity
PLAN YOUR DAY
Friday's sports on TV, radio
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