Monday, June 23, 2003

Reds notebook: Kearns finally gets chance to rest

OF still enduring arm pain a month after play at plate

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Photos of Sunday's game
PHOENIX - Austin Kearns was out of the lineup Sunday. The obvious reason is he could use a day out to help him get out of a 2-for-16 skid.

But the less obvious reason is Kearns has been playing with a sore right arm for a month.

Kearns suffered a badly bruised right rotator cuff when Atlanta pitcher Ray King fell on him after tagging Kearns out at the plate.

"It's been bugging me ever since," Kearns said. "Some days are better than others."

The injury affects Kearns when he throws.

The 2-for-16 funk has dropped Kearns' average to .287. He still leads the club with 57 RBI and is on pace to hit 33 home runs and 126 RBI.

"I've been trying to get him a day for two weeks," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "He's really dragging."

An injury to Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn's suspension prevented Boone from resting Kearns at all over the last week.

NO DECISION: Boone was non-committal when asked if Jimmy Anderson will make another start.

"I have no thoughts on that," he said. "He pitched all right. That's what we've seen from him. He can get major league hitters out until he makes a mistake."

Anderson's two outings since returning from the disabled list were similar. In both cases, Anderson made crucial mistakes with the score 3-3.

Against the Chicago Cubs June 16, he gave up back-to-back home runs to Moises Alou and Eric Karros in the sixth and lost 4-3.

Against Arizona Saturday, he gave up a long double to Lyle Overbay and then a home run to Chad Moeller and lost 5-3.

None of the four mistakes came on Anderson's money pitch - the sinker.

"Don't you think you'd learn from that?" Boone said.

The Reds have two alternatives to starting Anderson, whose next turn is Friday in Cleveland:

They could skip the fifth spot and use Ryan Dempster on his normal rest. Or they could start John Riedling, who is eligible to come off the disabled list June 27.

RIEDLING READY: Riedling had his most extensive session Sunday since going on the DL June 13 with tendinitis in his right elbow.

He threw 80 pitches at full intensity and experienced no pain.

The Reds could have Riedling make a rehab start in the minors.

"I don't know if they want me to do that or not," he said.

OLMEDO NO. 2: Rainer Olmedo made his ninth start of the year for the Reds Sunday. It was his first time in the No. 2 spot for the Reds, though he's hit second in the minors.

But Sunday there was a difference.

"I've got Ken Griffey Jr. hitting behind me," Olmedo said. "I'm going to see good pitches."

Olmedo is a good bunter with decent speed.

"He could develop into a lot of things," Boone said. "He could hit leadoff. He's played well."

Olmedo came up in the first in a sacrifice situation. His bunt was so good - a roller down the third base line - that he beat it out for a single. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored.

FARM REPORT: Brandon Larson extended his hitting streak to 26 games by going 2-for-4 with two doubles in Louisville's 6-2 victory over Syracuse Saturday.

Felipe Lopez went 2-for-3, pushing his average to .400 since his demotion. Todd Van Poppel got the win by throwing 3 2/3 innings of one-hit ball.

"Everybody we've sent down there looked like they'd never get another hit," Boone said. "Then they just crush the ball down there."

UP NEXT: The Reds are off today. They open a three-game series against Cardinals in St. Louis on Tuesday.

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