By John Fay
Enquirer staff writer
DENVER - Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr. were not in the starting lineup again Saturday.
Both were improved but not good enough to start.
The plan was for Larkin to test his sore left oblique muscle in early work Saturday. But the session was canceled because of a rain shower.
"I'm doing better," Larkin said. "Hitting, it's fine. It's getting out there defensively and twisting and throwing. That's what bothers me the most."
Larkin has not started a game since straining the oblique July 24. In retrospect, it looks like it would have been wise to put him on the disabled list. If he had gone on the 15-day DL, he'd be eligible today.
That's no longer an option. He has pinch hit three times - most recently July 31.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to go (today)," Larkin said. "If not, then in Cincinnati."
Griffey is still feeling stiffness in his right hamstring. A partial tear of the same hamstring kept him on the disabled list from July 11-Aug. 2. He started Wednesday in right field, not center, in San Francisco, but he had to leave the game after the hamstring stiffened up. He has pinch hit twice since.
"He's better," Reds manager Dave Miley said.
Another factor keeping Griffey out is that the Reds are playing in Coors Field, which has the biggest outfield in baseball.
HAPPY 32ND: Reds closer Danny Graves turned 32 Saturday.
Graves leads the National League with 35 saves, but he hasn't been building that total lately.
He has had only one save opportunity since July 17. He converted that one in the 8-7 win over the Giants on Wednesday.
"He does a good job of throwing and staying sharp," Miley said.
RIEDLING UPDATE: It's looking more and more like John Riedling won't join the Reds until they return home from the road trip.
Riedling has been in Florida since Monday. His father, Jack, died Monday.
Miley left Riedling a message but hasn't heard back.
"I'm sure he has a lot going on," Miley said.
MLB LEADER: Adam Dunn's home run binge - he hit his fifth in four games Saturday - has put him atop the major leagues.
Dunn's 34 home runs were two more than Philadelphia's Jim Thome had entering Saturday.
Dunn's homer Saturday gave him homers in four straight games. No Red had homered in more than three straight since Griffey tied a club record by homering in the five straight from July 8-11 of last year.
SEARCHING: Miley isn't sure how he'll use Jose Acevedo in the bullpen, but don't be surprised if Acevedo comes in late in the game.
"I may use him in the eighth," Miley said.
The Reds are looking for someone to take Todd Jones' role.
No one has stepped up in the week since Jones was traded.
In fact, going into Saturday, every Reds reliever except Graves had allowed at least one run in his last outing.
FARM REPORT: No. 1 draft pick Homer Bailey made his second appearance for Gulf Coast Reds. Bailey was a little better than he was in his first appearance.
He went two innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out one and walked none. Bailey didn't record an out in the second inning of his first outing.
UP NEXT: The Reds wrap up the three-game series with the Rockies with a 3:05 p.m. game. Right-hander Cory Lidle (6-10, 5.35 ERA) faces left-hander Jeff Fassero (2-7, 4.96).
Since shutting out the New York Mets 2-0 on June 30, Lidle is 0-5 with a 7.44 ERA.
Through Friday's game
|Vander Wal ||.192||.222||26||1||5||2||0||1||2||1||8||0||0||0|
|Team Totals ||.252||.335||3705||510||934||189||16||134||484||418||857||44||19||74|
|Van Poppel ||3||5||5.42||27||10||0||84.2||94||51||51||13||15||54|
|Team Totals ||53||56||5.17||109||109||36||969.2||1080||603||557||148||358||645|
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