Monday, June 28, 2004

Vander Wal ready for rehab stint

Reds notebook

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

John Vander Wal completed three days of thorough workouts Sunday to the satisfaction of himself and Reds officials.

Indications are the 38-year-old utility player will continue his rehabilitation from offseason knee surgery with Triple-A Louisville this week.

photo gallery
Photos of Sunday's game
"I'm ready, there's no question," said Vander Wal, who had surgery in January to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. "There were question marks about the health of the knee before, but right now there are none.

"Now it's in their court. I'm waiting to find out what they want to do."

The plan, according to Reds general manager Dan O'Brien, is for Vander Wal to re-join Louisville "sooner rather than later" this week. A minor-league roster move will be needed to make room for Vander Wal on Louisville's roster.

"We're going to try and use him in the same role with Louisville that he's going to be used in here," O'Brien said. "That means he'll play a little outfield, play some first base and obviously come off the bench."

Signed as a free agent to a one-year, $700,000 contract on Jan. 12, Vander Wal slipped on his driveway and tore his ACL less than three weeks later.

The on-field portion of his rehab began May 12 at extended spring training. Vander Wal was reinstated from Louisville's disabled list two weeks later, and in five games batted .250 until taking a leave to rest his knee.

"I believe the training staff knows where I'm at and the coaching staff knows where I'm at," Vander Wal said. "I'm willing to go down for four or five games. Before you come up and start playing, you need to get some at-bats. But it doesn't have to be to an extended thing."

POST-500: By going 0-for-4 against the Pirates Sunday, Ken Griffey Jr. extended his hitless streak to a career-high 24 at-bats.

Griffey has one hit - a single against the Mets on Tuesday - in his past 27 at-bats since hitting his 500th career home run June 20 in St. Louis.

"Everybody goes through slumps," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "It's not his first time and it probably won't be his last."

LIMITED LEFTY: Since the Reds acquired Gabe White from the Yankees on June 18 - adding a third left-hander to the team's bullpen - Phil Norton's workload has lightened considerably.

Sunday's 1/3-inning appearance was his second since allowing five runs in 2/3-inning against the Cardinals on June 19.

Norton retired the only batter he faced in the seventh Sunday, but allowed the first two batters in the eighth to reach base via a single and hit-by-pitch before being removed from the game. Both base runners scored.

Norton is 1-2 with a 15.00 ERA in his past seven appearances.

ODDS AND ENDS: With two solo home runs Sunday, left fielder Adam Dunn has four multi-homer games this season and eight in his career. ... Before the game, the Reds dedicated a bronze likeness of Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi outside the stadium gates. ... Reds players cast their ballots for the National League All-Star team over the weekend. ... In his 15th start of the season for Triple-A Louisville, pitcher Brandon Claussen (6-5) allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings Saturday.

REDS FACT: The Reds' 22-12 home record is still the best in the NL despite Sunday's loss.

Reds statistics

(Through Saturday's game)

Casey .352.4032845510026115542321104
Castro .324.367102153391110719005
Larkin .300.3532103863924291925201
Hummel .296.329718214016311103
Cruz .273.35166101840216821000
Pena .261.303115123031720645202
Dunn .260.407246476412020465892202
Jimenez .254.36724435621224224339754
Freel .250.36422830578511234391347
Griffey .242.344264446415019544060100
LaRue .230.32217422401007251349027
Larson .225.315808186018924105
Kearns .195.327871017213131630111
Valentin .170.208949164038514003
Clark .160.2502544100215100
Team Totals .252.34024933566271301388335304600321249
White 000.004004.1300004
Graves 133.194202942.14220159526
Matthews 213.38190016.01076476
Wilson 713.541414089.0933835102557
Jones 523.60380145.034191831931
Riedling 413.79350040.136201732025
Van Poppel 324.60159062.269323261235
Harang 425.011212064.283373672551
Lidle 555.0516160103.11095958142464
Acevedo 465.301515086.2955251181868
Norton 125.79310028.032211831717
Team Totals 41334.78747430657.271237634993226439

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