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View Full Version : Relieved Kearns can relax a little (2/27)



TeamBoone
02-27-2006, 01:55 PM
Relieved Kearns can relax a little
OF guaranteed playing time, but knows he must produce, stay healthy

SARASOTA, Fla. — Austin Kearns reported to camp this spring with a thinner waist-line and a wider smile.

For the first time since making the roster of the Cincinnati Reds, Kearns came to camp with his name embossed on right field. He doesn’t have to beat out Juan Encarnacion, he doesn’t have to beat out Wily Mo Peña and he doesn’t have to beat out Chef Boy-r-dee.

The slimmer, trimmer 25-year-old No. 1 draft pick in 1998 came to camp last year with a bulging belt and a battle on his hands to squeeze into the lineup.

When he started slow, much of it more attributable to injuries than poundage, former general manager Dan O’Brien exiled him to Louisville for a month on a Jenny Craig rehab.

It’s all different this year. First baseman Sean Casey was traded, left fielder Adam Dunn moved to first base, Wily Mo Peña moved to left field and Kearns owns right.

“It’s been a few years since I’ve come in knowing I’d be out there every day and I’m sure it is a relief for Wily Mo, too,” said Kearns. “We can relax. It’s good for both of us.

“Knowing people are behind you, knowing if you go into a little funk people are going to stick with you and you aren’t looking over your shoulder to see who is taking your place,” he added.

Manager Jerry Narron is a Kearns booster/supporter.

“I look for him to have a big year for us,” he said. That “us” part means a lot to Kearns because over the past year every sentence containing his name also seemed to contain the word trade. “He has shown when he is healthy he has been a big run-producer.

“He is a very good outfielder and very good baserunner,” Narron added. “He does not make mistakes. All the teams must feel that way about him, too, because whenever we talk trade his name always comes up.”

The last time Kearns was fully healthy was his rookie season when he hit .315 over 107 games in 2002.

“This is a big year for him,” Narron said. “He needs to establish himself. He has to stay healthy and produce. I believe he realizes that by the way he came to camp in such good shape.”

Like many teammates, Kearns was one step this side of shocked when the Reds traded Casey.

“I was surprised when he was the guy because the talk always was that it was going to be me or Wily Mo traded,” he said. “That’s all I ever heard. It is tough losing a guy like Casey. You don’t find too many Sean Caseys running around.

“But it gives me and Wily Mo an opportunity, so I guess that’s good for us,” he said.

About Narron’s big-year assessment, Kearns said, “I hope he is right. I like Jerry’s whole approach, the old-school thing. I always thought that’s how I play the game. He likes baseball players. It might get old hearing all the time about playing the game right, but you have to do that, have a bunch of guys do that to have a successful team.”

Kearns missed several games last year — and played several games — with a thumb so out of whack it had a hole in it. He taped it and padded it and went to the plate and at least once a game threw his bat into the stands because he lost his grip.

His thumb this year?

“It’s attached,” Kearns said with a grin. “That’s all I can ask.”

http://www.middletownjournal.com/sports/content/sports/stories/2006/02/27/MJ0227redside_share.html

KearnsyEars
02-27-2006, 02:20 PM
He had a HOLE IN HIS HAND!!!!

KearnsyEars
02-27-2006, 02:21 PM
by the way thanks TB, great read.

TeamBoone
02-27-2006, 02:28 PM
He had a HOLE IN HIS HAND!!!!

I read something about that last year. And it was brought up during game threads quite often.

And KE, you're welcome.

Rotater Cuff
02-27-2006, 03:11 PM
Wasn't the hole in the thumb deal in the 2004 season?

TeamBoone
02-27-2006, 05:29 PM
Wasn't the hole in the thumb deal in the 2004 season?

Actually, I thought that too. Though I remember people commenting on him "pulling at his thumb" during at bats, like it might still be bothering him.

Redsland
02-27-2006, 05:54 PM
Kearns thumb injuries:

7/2/2004 - Surgery to remove bone spur, scar tissue, and lesion from right thumb
6/8/2004 - 8/23/2004 - DL'd with open sore on right thumb (blood blister suffered 8/10)


5/2001 - Suffered torn ulnar collateral ligament in right thumb, missed most of season.

Marge'sMullet
02-27-2006, 07:41 PM
It's called "Nintendo thumb." To much video gaming.

Reds Nd2
02-27-2006, 10:43 PM
It's called "Nintendo thumb." To much video gaming.

:rolleyes:

IIRC, the surgery he had in 2004 was the result of the prior thumb injury not healing correctly. The blood blister or the "hole in his thumb" was the result of being jammed by a pitch, on the surgically repaired thumb, during his rehab assignment at Louisville.

TOBTTReds
02-27-2006, 11:21 PM
His thumb this year?

“It’s attached,” Kearns said with a grin. “That’s all I can ask.”


So it is still painful and going to effect his swing? Good.

Marge'sMullet
02-27-2006, 11:38 PM
:rolleyes:

IIRC, the surgery he had in 2004 was the result of the prior thumb injury not healing correctly. The blood blister or the "hole in his thumb" was the result of being jammed by a pitch, on the surgically repaired thumb, during his rehab assignment at Louisville.


and from playing video games.:bang: believe me.

Betterread
02-27-2006, 11:39 PM
:rolleyes:

IIRC, the surgery he had in 2004 was the result of the prior thumb injury not healing correctly. The blood blister or the "hole in his thumb" was the result of being jammed by a pitch, on the surgically repaired thumb, during his rehab assignment at Louisville.

You are correct. He first tore a ligament in this thumb in 2001 (he missed significant time in AA that year due to the injury and Dunn passed him in his incredible 2001 rise that brought him to the majors). This tear is permanent, although it can be mitigated through flexibilty and building up nearby muscle. It can be easily aggravated, and Austin needs to prepare himself for periodic pain from this injury for the rest of his life.

Reds Nd2
02-28-2006, 07:06 AM
You are correct. He first tore a ligament in this thumb in 2001 (he missed significant time in AA that year due to the injury and Dunn passed him in his incredible 2001 rise that brought him to the majors). This tear is permanent, although it can be mitigated through flexibilty and building up nearby muscle. It can be easily aggravated, and Austin needs to prepare himself for periodic pain from this injury for the rest of his life.

Thanks for the description of the injury Betterread. Could this have been the cause of Austin's bats flying into the stands last season? With the injury being on the right thumb, it seems this wouldn't be the case but I could be wrong. I believe he blamed the lack of grip on sweat soaked gloves last season.

Blimpie
02-28-2006, 10:03 AM
About Narron’s big-year assessment, Kearns said, “I hope he is right. I like Jerry’s whole approach, the old-school thing. I always thought that’s how I play the game. He likes baseball players. It might get old hearing all the time about playing the game right, but you have to do that, have a bunch of guys do that to have a successful team.”
From your lips, to God's ears.........Ears.