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TeamBoone
08-02-2006, 12:28 AM
July 31, 2006

Kearns absorbs shock
By Mark Zuckerman

One of these days, the shock will completely wear off. That's what Austin Kearns believes. It may take another week, perhaps a month, maybe even the rest of the season.

At some point, Kearns no longer will think of himself as the guy who got traded from Cincinnati to Washington. He just will think of himself as the Nationals' starting right fielder.

But he's not there quite yet.

"Each day, that's what I've been telling people," Kearns said. "Each day, I get more and more settled in. Coming into a clubhouse where you don't know many people, you kind of need some time to feel your way around. But each day has been getting better."

It has been more than two weeks since Kearns was included in a surprise eight-player deal between the Nationals and Reds, and there are times when the 26-year-old outfielder has to remind himself he doesn't play for his hometown team anymore.

A native of Lexington, Ky., Kearns was living every major leaguer's dream, playing for the team he grew up watching, hoping to spend his entire career with the same organization.

So upon learning he had been dealt -- to a last-place club, of all things -- he was admittedly a little stunned.

"It was a surprise," Kearns said. "I think everybody was expecting a trade, but I hadn't really heard my name thrown out there. But I think for any player, the first time you get traded is definitely a surprise."

He spent his first week with the Nationals on the road, playing three games in Pittsburgh and two more in Miami (he sat one). He tried to put on a positive veneer, but inside he knew his life had been turned upside down.

Kearns had gone from a contender to a team in a self-declared rebuilding mode. Instead of playing an hour from his hometown, he was now moving to a new city with no time to look for housing or get acclimated.

Back in Lexington, Kearns' wife, Abby, faced the challenge of packing up her husband's belongings and finding a place for him to live in Washington, all the while taking care of their 10-month old son, Aubrey.

With all that on his mind, he got off to a horrible start with his new team: 2-for-17, no RBI.

These weren't exactly the happiest days of his life, a fact Kearns made clear to his best friend on the Reds, fellow outfielder Adam Dunn, during their regular phone conversations in the week following the trade.

Dunn relayed the frequency and nature of their phone calls to the Dayton Daily News.

"Every day, every stinking day," he told the paper. "And he tells me every day how miserable he is in Washington."

Kearns insists that is not the case.

"I've talked to Adam a lot. There's no miserable," he said. "I just told him that it's different being on a new team. I am by no means miserable. I'm happy here. I look at this trade as happening for a reason. This could be the best thing that's ever happened to me."

Kearns has felt more and more like that over the last week. He finally got to see Washington firsthand, got to move into his new apartment and got to see his wife and son during the Nationals' last homestand. He still hasn't unpacked all those boxes, but at least he knows where he will be sleeping every night for the rest of the season.

And as he has become more comfortable in his new surroundings, he has become more comfortable on the playing field. Following that 2-for-17 start to his Nationals career, Kearns hit .368 (7-for-19) with four RBI during his first RFK Stadium homestand.

He's slowly but surely opening up to his new teammates as well. He's still soft-spoken, preferring to take a cautious approach with the rest of the guys in the clubhouse, but he's making strides and is starting to feel like an integral part of this ballclub.

The Nationals are banking on him seizing the opportunity, establishing himself as a primary piece to the franchise's long-term plans. Kearns isn't ready to think that far ahead. He's just waiting for that day when he feels completely comfortable among this group of strangers.

It may take a week. It may take a month. It may take longer. One way or another, Kearns knows it will happen.

"I don't think it will take long," he said. "I'm easy to get along with. I like to have fun. I look forward to the future here."


http://washingtontimes.com/sports/20060731-012444-5680r.htm

reds44
08-02-2006, 12:30 AM
If Adam Dunn signs a LTC with the Reds, we haven't seen the last of Ears in a Reds uniform.

TeamBoone
08-02-2006, 12:52 AM
What makes you say that? As much as I love Adam, he's not the GM and personally, I think WK would let him go rather than allow him to make such a demand (which I don't think he'd ever do).

reds44
08-02-2006, 12:54 AM
What makes you say that? As much as I love Adam, he's not the GM and personally, I think WK would let him go rather than allow him to make such a demand (which I don't think he'd ever do).
No I don't think Dunn would demand it, but I think AK would want to come back and play with him.

Spitball
08-02-2006, 01:14 AM
No I don't think Dunn would demand it, but I think AK would want to come back and play with him.

Most of my family and friends still live in Massachusetts, and I would love to come back and play with them but the logistics tell me that ain't likely to happen on a long term basis. Logistics tell me it ain't likely with Kearns either. He wasn't traded because he was thought highly of.

KalDanielsfan
08-02-2006, 01:18 AM
wow. i feel terrible for Kearns. bad trade. seems like a good kid and I feel sorry for him.

and he's miserable. he just cant put it in the media he is miserable after arriving in his new city/ team.

dunn kinda put him on blast in the newspaper huh? oh well

Jpup
08-02-2006, 05:50 AM
My favorite Red since Davis. I hate to see him gone, but winning is the goal and sometimes you have to let go of something to gain something. I started off in shock of the trade then I thought, well it might work out OK, but now I really hate it. I'll get over it and I hope Austin Kearns has a great career and maybe he'll come back to the Reds in a couple years. I know that is unlikely, but you never know.

I certainly wish his wife and child the best while he is away. He'll be fine and I'm sure they will be too.:thumbup:

Always Red
08-02-2006, 09:53 AM
No I don't think Dunn would demand it, but I think AK would want to come back and play with him.
And I would welcome Kearns back with open arms.

We seem to have some extra relief arms, maybe we can trade a couple for him?

PS- this is no criticism of the trade at all; Kriv did what needed to be done to address a glaring weakness and attempt to get this team over the hump and into the playoffs. If this team can win the wild card this year, it will have been an amazing feat for a team no one expected anything from at all, and will be something great to build on.

But I wouldn't mind having Kearns back!:D

REDREAD
08-02-2006, 10:07 AM
If Adam Dunn signs a LTC with the Reds, we haven't seen the last of Ears in a Reds uniform.

It looks like as long as Wayne is the GM, Kearns isn't coming back.

Kearns will make new friends in Washington. I kind of doubt he'll want to come back to the Reds, who he feels jerked him around (primarily DanO who insisted on keeping 4 OF and sending Kearns to AAA).

KalDanielsfan
08-02-2006, 10:12 AM
i wish kearns the best. with health he will end up being a .300 hitter with 28 hr's and 90 rbi's a season.

no doubt about that.