Wise tries once more
Injuries have stalled outfielder's career
By Brian Bennett
Many players dislike the final days of spring training, when the exhibition season drags on. Dewayne Wise has more reason than most to hate that part of the calendar.
Wise was in the running for the Detroit Tigers' center-field job last year, only to suffer an injury to his left quadriceps late in the spring. This year a sprained left ankle ended his push to win a backup job on the Cincinnati Reds.
"It's frustrating," Wise said. "But I think everything happens for a reason, so you've got to stay positive."
The 28-year-old from Columbia, S.C., hit .298 in the Reds' big-league camp, impressing the club with his power and speed. But on March 24 he slid awkwardly into second base, suffering what team doctors told him "was one of the worst ankle injuries they'd ever seen."
Wise said he tore the ligaments completely off the bone in his lower leg. He keeps a picture taken of his ankle just after the injury in his locker.
"It's disgusting," he said. "It looks like my whole foot should have snapped off my leg. I have to say I'm really lucky to be out here playing this game."
After two months of rehabilitation in Sarasota, Fla., Wise began running again in late May. He joined Double-A Chattanooga on June 3 and quickly reminded the Reds why they liked him, hitting .420 with three homers in 13 games.
"I kind of shocked myself," he said. "I thought it might take longer for me to get my swing back after missing so much time."
Wise, who has a .203 career major league batting average in 147 games with the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, made it back to Triple-A last Monday when he joined the Louisville Bats.
"Now it's all about showing them my ankle is good enough that I can go out there and do whatever they need me to do," he said. "I'm just thrilled to be back on field."
Media and field staff balloting will end tomorrow for the International League All-Star team. Here's a quick look at one writer's picks:
Infield: Charlotte's Josh Fields, third base; Louisville's Ray Olmedo, shortstop; Charlotte's Angel Gonzalez, second base; Durham's Kevin Witt, first base.
Outfield: Louisville's Chris Denorfia and Rochester's Jason Tyner and Josh Rabe.
Catcher: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Carlos Ruiz.
Designated hitter: Syracuse's Kevin Barker.
Starting pitchers: Charlotte's Charlie Haeger and Indianapolis' Tom Gorzelanny.
Relief pitchers: Ottawa's Julio Manon and Rochester's Pat Neshek.
Calling all hopefuls
The Reds will hold an open tryout July 9 at the University of Louisville's Jim Patterson Stadium.
Players must be between 16 and 22 years old and supply their own gloves, spikes and uniforms. The tryout will begin at 10 a.m. with registration one hour earlier. Any player under 21 must have a written release of liability from a parent or guardian; American Legion players need written permission from their post commander or legion coach.
Brian Bennett can be reached at (502) 582-7177.