10-28-2004, 09:28 AM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Re: Blue Jays "aggressively" moving to trade Eric Hinske to the Reds
From Thursday's Enquirer. It reads to me as if the Kearns move to 3rd is a feint, and that the Jays are more interested in moving Hinske than the REds are in acquiring him.
So far, so good for Kearns at third
Experiment continues, but Reds discuss other 3B options
By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer
Encouraged by Austin Kearns' progress at third base during an Instructional League stint that ended Friday, the Reds are making plans to continue the experiment through the offseason.
General manager Dan O'Brien said Wednesday, however, that no decision has been made regarding a position change for the 24-year-old outfielder.
"I would say there was some progress," O'Brien said Wednesday from St. Louis. "I think we need to keep it all in the appropriate context, because this is very much a sequential process, hopefully getting to an end result everyone is pleased with. But there are no promises."
The Reds are asking Kearns to follow a daily workout schedule for the next two months in Lexington.
Minor-league infield coordinator Freddie Benavides and first base coach Randy Whisler are devising the workout regimen. O'Brien said Kearns probably will be re-evaluated in early January.
"I definitely was doing a lot better by the time I left there than when I first got there," Kearns said Wednesday. "The last three or four days there, I was having trouble walking from all the stuff I was doing.
"In the infield, it's all about your legs. You've got to stay low and use your legs for everything. As far as fielding, I think I got a little smoother toward the end."
Kearns has played only outfield since coming to the major leagues in 2002 but did play some at shortstop and third base at Lafayette High School in Lexington. He agreed to the third base experiment when approached by the Reds after this past season.
Should this work, it would be favorable for the Reds, who are looking for an everyday third baseman and want Kearns' bat in the lineup with outfielders Adam Dunn, Wily Mo PeŇa and Ken Griffey Jr.
"I think by virtue of Austin's involvement down in the Instructional League, our priorities aren't quite the same going into the offseason as they might have been otherwise," O'Brien said. "So we are ... hopeful of the possibilities."
Last season was an injury-filled campaign for Kearns. He batted .230 with nine home runs and 32 RBI in just 64 games, missing 84 games while on the disabled list.
The Reds' need for an everyday third baseman is widely known around baseball.
A report in Wednesday's Toronto Sun said the Blue Jays were "aggressively" trying to move third baseman Eric Hinske to the Reds.
O'Brien confirmed Wednesday he has spoken with Blue Jays officials, as well as those with other teams in recent days, but termed those talks as being preliminary and somewhat generic in nature.
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