SARASOTA, Fla. -- Wearing a visor backwards on his head, center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. arrived early to camp and playfully walked into the Reds Spring Training clubhouse on Thursday.
Griffey was happily met in kind with hellos, hugs and even some teasing from teammates.
"You know this is the day pitchers and catchers are supposed to report, right?" team physician Tim Kremchek joked.
It wasn't long before utility player Ryan Freel was at Griffey's locker asking for help in taping his bat handle. Eventually, new general manager Wayne Krivsky stopped by to introduce himself. This encounter went much smoother than a previous one over the phone last week shortly after Krivsky was hired by the Reds.
Griffey, who received a message only that a "Wayne" had called, tried to return the call. The early chat went something like this:
"This is Ken," Griffey said.
"Ken who?" Krivsky replied.
"Ken from 407," said Griffey, giving only his Orlando area code and not wanting to give away who he was to a possible stranger. "You called me."
"I'm busy. I've got to get this deal done," Krivsky tersely fired back.
"What do you do?" asked Griffey.
"I'm the GM of the Reds," Krivsky said.
"This is Griffey," the new boss learned before the two finally talked.
On Thursday, Krivsky was still laughing with Griffey about their original miscommunication.
"My wife said, 'Boy, you were rude to whoever that was,'" Krivsky said.
Fortunately, there's no mistaking one thing about Griffey this spring. He's healthy.
Unlike past camps when he was coming off serious hamstring or ankle injuries and major surgeries, there was no wondering about whether his body is ready for workouts and game situations.
"That's a good thing. Now I'm just trying to get into baseball shape," said Griffey, who batted .301 with 35 home runs and 92 RBIs in 2005, earning him National League Comeback Player of the Year honors.
This spring will also be a departure from the norm, because Griffey will actually soon be departing altogether.
He will be leaving Sarasota to join Team USA in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic on March 2, but Griffey didn't view the situation as unique or a big deal.
"Not really," Griffey said. "I had a pretty unique Spring Training last year and the year before. As far as leaving to go play without my teammates, that's going to be weird. I'll still be on the phone with them and looking at the paper in the morning."
Looking to remain on a usual preparation schedule for the season, Griffey plans to workout and do rehab with his own routine with help from Team USA's medical staff and trainers.
He may have 536 career home runs, a spot on the All-Century team and a place reserved for him in Cooperstown after retiring, but playing in the World Baseball Classic was something Griffey really wanted to do.
"It's an opportunity I didn't get a chance to [have] from turning pro," said Griffey, referring to playing in the Olympics. "I'd like to represent my country."
Planning to work out with the Reds on Friday, Griffey spent the rest of his time Thursday opening packages and later showing teammates his new turbo-charged SUV in the complex's parking lot.
The 12-time All-Star marveled about how fast his offseason went.
"When I was 19, it was like four months," Griffey said. "Now at 36, it's like ... [snaps his fingers]."
But was he ready to go?
"I'm always ready," he said. "Mentally, I've been ready for Spring Training since the end of last season."