Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Healthy team on horizon

Big bats Griffey, Larkin and Casey could play

By John Fay
Enquirer staff writer

SAN FRANCISCO - The Reds could have Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin and Sean Casey in the starting lineup today.

That hasn't happened in a month.

Casey injured his calf July 3. He went on the disabled list the next day. Griffey joined Casey on the DL July 11 when he partially tore his right hamstring. Larkin hasn't joined them on the DL, but he hasn't started a game since straining a left oblique muscle July 24.

The Reds have played 26 straight games with at least one of the three out of the starting lineup.

"I knew it had been a long time," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "I didn't realize it had been that long."

Casey came back from the DL July 14. Griffey was re-instated Tuesday after checking out OK in the pregame workout. He is expected to start today. Larkin took groundballs before Tuesday's game. A decision will be made on whether he will start today.

The Reds' downfall came when injuries started piling up. Two of the Opening Day starters - Austin Kearns (25 starts) and Brandon Larson (33 starts) - have missed more than two-thirds of the Reds' 106 games.

The injuries to Casey, Griffey and Larkin - arguably the Reds' three best hitters this year - have been too much.

The Reds were 44-37 on July 4. They entered Tuesday 7-17 since.

"It shows how good our lineup can be when we have those guys healthy," Miley said.

Right now, the Reds are in a collective offensive funk. Five of the eight starters Tuesday entered the game on some sort of skid: Casey (2-for-23, .130), Juan Castro (9-for-78, .115), D'Angelo Jimenez (4-for-40, .100), Jason LaRue (2-for-18, .111) and Wily Mo Pena (6-for-44, .136).

SAD DAY: John Riedling returned to Florida for his father, Jack's, funeral.

Riedling learned Monday that his father had a heart attack. He was on his way back to Florida when he heard his father had died.

Riedling will miss at least three days and as many as seven on the bereavement list.

8TH CHOICE: With Riedling out, Gabe White will get the bulk of the eighth-inning work.

"We'll also take a look at Mr. Hancock," Miley said.

He was referring to Josh Hancock, the right-hander obtained in the Todd Jones trade with Philadelphia.

Hancock has pitched once since the trade - a scoreless inning in the 13th to earn the win Saturday in the completion of Friday's suspended game.

CATCHING SWITCH: Javier Valentin, who has caught 17 of Cory Lidle's starts, was replaced by LaRue on Tuesday.

Valentin will start today's game when Jose Acevedo starts.

The move falls under the what-can-it-hurt theory. Lidle is 0-4 with a 7.76 ERA in his last four starts. Acevedo is 0-4 with a 9.67 ERA in his last six starts.

FARM REPORT: Second baseman William Bergolla went 4-for-5 with a double in Double-A Chattanooga's 8-4 loss to Tennessee on Monday.

OFF TO ATHENS: Triple-A Louisville's closer, Aaron Myette, is leaving the team for three weeks to pitch for Canada in the Olympics.

Myette, 26-year-old right-hander, has had a great year for the Bats. He's 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 18 saves.

UP NEXT: The Reds take on the Giants in the second game of the three-game series. Acevedo (4-10, 6.33 ERA) faces former Red Brett Tomko (5-6, 4.72).

REDS FACT: Cincinnati's 9-18 record in July was its worst mark for the month since a 7-19 campaign in 1989.

Reds statistics

Through Sunday's game

Casey .332.3913556511833116623123105
Larkin .300.35229353881337402534204
Dunn .276.4103596699200296177128413
Freel .275.3813314191115118485620711
Pena .267.32522126597116431570314
Jimenez .255.35736548931627375863965
Griffey .251.350295487417020604465101
LaRue .245.331265336514112372072027
Castro .241.27818722451511111031006
Cruz .234.311107162550321931000
Hummel .233.28610310244017716104
Lopez .222.258637145016323005
Larson .212.3041181325603141435105
Kearns .195.327871017213131630111
Valentin .194.247134132660515922004
Vander Wal .174.2082314101217000
Romano .154.21426340013210000
Team Totals .251.335355948589218015127459407830441868

Graves 143.215503456.058252010731
Wilson 923.8421210136.01376158184691
Claussen 114.0233015.21597279
Riedling 434.37510057.261362852632
Harang 634.531717095.1110494883676
Norton 134.70460044.044272332331
Lidle 695.3222220137.01508481193987
Van Poppel 355.332610082.2924949131554
Wagner 216.23270026.040221841816
Acevedo 4106.3321210113.21378280223690
White 017.08190020.12216168416
Hancock 118.1052010.01399355
Matthews 218.84220018.12319186108
Team Totals 51545.1310510535935.21036574533139346632

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