From a Sprinfield, OH, newspaper; reporter not specified

Reds Notes: Milton back on track

DUNEDIN, Fla. — While a group of his teammates played an exhibition game in Knology Park against the green-clad Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Eric Milton spent his St. Patrick’s Day morning on a mound in Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium.

Milton was so happy with the results of his simulated game that he considered changing his name to Eric O’Milton.

In a supreme test of his once-sore right calf, Milton pitched six innings, threw 76 pitches, gave up one run and five hits, while striking out two and walking one.

“I don’t know, do walks count in simulated games?” general manager Wayne Krivsky asked with a smile, obviously delighted with what he saw.

“If there are no problems — we’ll see how he feels (today) — we’ll get him into a game days from now,” he continued. “Everybody was very pleased with what they saw. He even fielded a couple of bunts without a problem.”

Milton injured his calf early this spring running backwards during agility drills, came back too early and tried to pitch March 7 against the Blue Jays and the first five batters reached base.

He re-injured the calf, “Because I had to back up too many bases and did it backing up home plate, running backwards.”

He hasn’t pitched in a game since.


Griffey still absent

Manager Jerry Narron isn’t certain when Ken Griffey Jr. will return to the Reds after the Team USA’s elimination from the World Baseball Classic on Thursday and, frankly, he isn’t concerned.

“He probably had more at-bats (24 plate appearances) there then he would have gotten here,” said Narron. “He is probably ahead of everybody here after playing games there, so I’m not worried about him. When do I expect him in the lineup? April 3 (Opening Day).”

Catcher Javier Valentin returned to camp Friday morning after Puerto Rico was eliminated from the WBC, “And he’ll pick up (play for) catcher Jason LaRue in Bradenton (today).”

Still missing is outfielder Wily Mo Pena, playing for the Dominican Republic in the WBC finals in San Diego.


Famous father-in-law

Non-roster outfield candidate Brian Buchanan has a famous father-in-law, an apropos relative during the NCAA basketball tournament. His father-in-law is former Ohio State All-American John Havlicek, also of Boston Celtics fame.

Asked if he ever played one-on-one with his father-in-law, Buchanan said, “I’ve never seen him touch a basketball since he retired. When he quit, he quit for good. My wife (Jill) and I see him a lot. Our 17-month old son, Walker, is his first grandchild.”


Git ’er Dunn

Adam Dunn singled to lead off the second inning Friday, his 30th plate appearance this spring. It was his first single. He had three doubles and two homers.

“My first single?” he said when told. “Glad to get it out of the way early. What do you want tomorrow (today). A bunt single? I’ll do it. First time up.”

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