Sunday, June 20, 2004

White eager to take mound

Lefty reliever was mainly spectator as a Yankee

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

ST. LOUIS - With a blue Yankees equipment bag draped across his shoulder, the new pitcher walked back into a familiar place.

Once Gabe White dropped the bag at his locker, teammates, coaches and others streamed over to welcome the veteran relief pitcher back to the Reds.

photo gallery
Photos of Saturday's game
"There were no nervous feelings, no knots in my stomach or anything," said White, who was acquired by the Reds in a trade late Friday. "It feels like I was gone for the offseason and now I'm back, and away we go."

This is White's third stint with the Reds, who traded him to the Yankees on July 31.

Cincinnati also received a player to be named and cash ($700,000 according to the New York Daily News) for minor-league pitcher Charlie Manning in Friday's deal.

"I have a lot of fond memories here, had some success with these guys," said White, who also pitched for the Reds from 1997-2000 and 2002-03. "And I know how fun it is when this team wins. The more teams I play on, the more special I find that to be. It's not that way in every situation."

Like the one he just left.

White had become expendable in the Yankees bullpen, pitching just 1 2/3 innings since May 30. In 24 appearances this season, White allowed 33 hits in 20 2/3 innings.

"I thought something was going to happen at some point just because there was no work," he said.

With the Reds, White is sure to get plenty of work as one of three left-handers in the six-man bullpen. Cincinnati relief pitchers had thrown 214 1/3 innings in 64 games entering Saturday.

"There's not anywhere else that I could have probably been excited about," White said. "Anybody that knows me knows I want to be out there all the time.

"It just killed me to sit there and sit there. And there's always plenty of work in a Reds bullpen. There always has been."

LATE SCRATCH: The first version of the Reds' lineup Saturday listed shortstop Barry Larkin as second in the batting order. That changed soon thereafter.

Larkin was scratched after aggravating an abdominal strain in the sixth inning Friday. The 40-year-old missed five games (June 9-14) with the injury and will be re-evaluated today.

Felipe Lopez started at shortstop and Jermaine Clark at second.

Who should the Reds play at third-base?

HERE YE, HERE YE: Larkin aggravated the injury Friday on a soft line drive by Cardinals second baseman Tony Womack. Larkin had to stop abruptly to avoid a collision with Reds second baseman Ryan Freel on the play.

Freel's all-out play and tendency to go after every ball prompted center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. to find a bullhorn and make a pregame announcement in various parts of the Reds clubhouse.

"Ryan Freel!" Griffey called out, his voice amplified. "I've got it!"

KEARNS UPDATE: Reds right fielder Austin Kearns had his bothersome right thumb, which prompted him to leave his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Friday, examined by team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek on Saturday.

Kearns is scheduled to see a hand specialist Monday. He has been on the disabled list since June 8 because of a sore that developed on his right thumb.

"It's certainly not as bad as it was," Kremchek said. "Any time he gets a little aggravation, we want to look at it. We don't want it to break down again."

MINOR MATTERS: Reds pitcher Aaron Harang is scheduled to throw a bullpen session prior to today's game against the Cardinals.

The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since June 4 with a sprained ligament in his right elbow, arrived at Busch Stadium on Saturday.

Harang made his first rehabilitation start Friday at Triple-A Louisville, allowing four earned runs on nine hits over three innings against Buffalo. He struck out three and walked three.

Infielder Juan Castro started (strained left ribcage muscle) at shortstop and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

UP NEXT: Left-hander Jung Keun Bong (0-1, 7.71 ERA) will make his third start with the Reds today.

It will be his first career appearance against the Cardinals.

Right-hander Matt Morris (7-5. 4.14) starts for the Cardinals and has won four consecutive.

REDS FACT: The team enters Sunday's game at St. Louis with a nine-game road losing streak, their longest such streak since a 10-game skid in June 1998.

Reds statistics

(Through Friday's game)

Casey .362.408257519325113502020104
Larkin .303.3512083863924291725201
Castro .298.3378411256119517004
Hummel .286.31756616401539103
Pena .281.33096102731515637202
Cruz .279.36261101740216820000
Dunn .264.421220445811019425783202
Jimenez .256.37322732581223214236754
Griffey .254.359236416015018513752100
Freel .245.36220827517511131361047
LaRue .223.3291481933805201342026
Larson .217.304698155018718005
Kearns .195.327871017213131630111
Lopez .171.19041372005116003
Valentin .156.196908144038512003
Clark .143.2501422000012000
Team Totals .253.34522453265691201379308286531271247

Wilson 703.171313082.184322982448
Graves 133.433902739.14120159524
Jones 513.51360141.030171621930
Matthews 113.95160013.21076465
Riedling 414.04310035.231191631821
Norton 124.33290027.029161331416
Van Poppel 324.53148057.261292961134
Lidle 455.291515095.11005756132456
Acevedo 355.331313072.2794443151561
Harang 425.431111059.279373672244
Bong 017.712209.114138376
Team Totals 37304.88676728593.264734932286209389

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