Thursday, April 24, 2003

Reds Notebook

Players air problems

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Reds had a players-only meeting before batting practice Wednesday night.

"I think the topic is pretty obvious," said Scott Sullivan, one of the players who called the meeting and spoke at it. "We need to tighten things up around here and play like we're capable of."

The meeting was brief - maybe five minutes.

"We were direct and to the point," Sullivan said.

What was said?

"We're going to keep that in-house," Sullivan said.

Reds manager Bob Boone has been pleased with the way his team had played over the last four games, prior to Wednesday night's 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I don't know how good we're going to be," Boone said. "But I know we're better than 6-14. If we play like we did in the last couple of games, we're going to win our share."

Boone recently was going through some papers when he came across a story about the Anaheim Angels that ran in the Seattle Times about a year ago. The Angels had lost their 20th game the day before - 1-0 to the Mariners.

"They were saying some of the same things they're saying about us," Boone said. "The payroll was $60 million. They did some pretty drastic things to change things. They became the team that won the World Series."

The Angels started 6-14, just as the Reds did.

TRANSACTIONS: Jimmy Anderson and Josias Manzanillo both accepted outright assignments to Triple-A Louisville.

Anderson, 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA, and Manzanillo, 0-1 with a 12.66 ERA, were designated for assignment Saturday.

Both signed split contracts and will make less than $100,000 in the minors - Anderson was due $600,000, Manzanillo $500,000, as major-leaguers.

The Reds also claimed left-hander Eric Cyr off waivers from the Angels.

Cyr, 24, was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA at Double-A Arkansas. He has been optioned to Chattanooga.

COACHING CHANGE: With bench coach Ray Knight out until at least May 5, bullpen catcher Mark Berry will assume Knight's duties.

Onix Mercado, a coach in the minor-league system, will serve as bullpen coach until Knight returns.

Knight had surgery Tuesday to remove pressure on a kidney stone.

"He's not doing too well," Boone said. ""It's a vicious thing. It's had him down two weeks."

LARKIN UPDATE: Barry Larkin took live batting practice Wednesday and jogged on a treadmill.

It was the stiffest test yet for his strained left calf muscle.

"I felt good," he said. "No problems."

Larkin is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday.

RICKEY? The Reds have had internal discussions about free agent outfielder Rickey Henderson but have not had any talks with Henderson about signing him.

RIEDLING UPDATE: The John Riedling starting experiment might not happen.

"I'd talked about the possibility for a long time," Boone said. "I like him as a starter because of the way he pitches and his background."

The Reds might tweak the rotation slightly with the off day Monday before a road trip to Colorado and San Francisco.

FARM REPORT: The Reds got strong performances from the two Chattanooga pitchers considered closest to the majors.

Bobby Basham went seven innings Wednesday afternoon, allowing only two unearned runs on four hits in a 2-1 loss to Jacksonville. Tuesday, Dustin Moseley allowed one run on six hits in six innings in a 2-1 win over Jacksonville.

UP NEXT: The Reds conclude the three-game series at 7:10 p.m. today. Right-hander Ryan Dempster (1-1, 6.39 ERA) faces right-hander Kevin Brown (1-1, 4.03).

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Reds Notebook: Players air problems
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