Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Kearns' forearm broken

Hit by pitch, outfielder heads to Cincinnati for exam

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PITTSBURGH - Austin Kearns suffered a broken left forearm when he was hit by a Ryan Vogelsong pitch in the first inning of the Reds game with the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night.

Kearns returned to Cincinnati to be examined by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek.

The Reds made no roster move. If Kearns is out for an extended period, which seems likely, the Reds could play Ryan Freel or Wily Mo Pena in right field. Jacob Cruz, one of the last cuts in spring training, could be recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

The pitch that hit Kearns was clocked at 94 mph by the scoreboard radar gun. It hit him about six inches above his hand.

He stayed in the game to run the bases and played right field in the bottom of the first.

But Freel replaced him when the Reds took the field for the bottom of the second.

The injury came on the same day that Brandon Larson rejoined the team after suffering a turf toe injury March 10.

Kearns, 23, has had a terrible run of luck in his short career. On May 21 of last year, he injured his right shoulder in home plate collision with Atlanta's Ray King. Kearns hit .309 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI in the 45 games before the injury. He hit .208 with two home runs and 14 RBI in the 37 games after the injury.

He eventually had season-ending surgery on the shoulder. The recovery from that injury is probably why Kearns has struggled this season. He was hitting .137 with two home runs and five RBI in 17 games this year.

In 2002, he didn't play after Aug. 27 because of a strained left hamstring.

In 2001, he was limited to 59 games with a torn collateral ligament in his right thumb.

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