You know it's a slow news day when Hal McCoy has to write about this.
By Hal McCoy
CHICAGO | Ryan Freel walked over to Ken Griffey Jr. in the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse Thursday morning and handed him a personal check, "The biggest check I ever wrote," said Freel.
It was for $27,000 and it was for the purchase of Griffey's 2005 Lincoln Navigator SUV and Griffey said, "It'll be there for you when we get home."
When somebody asked Griffey if he was afraid the check might bounce, pitcher Kent Mercker said, "Griffey is the only guy I know who takes a check to the bank and the bank bounces."
Freel is getting a bargain and he knows it.
"The wheels and sound system are worth $22,000, so I'm getting the car for $5,000," he said. "I've been after him for two years to sell it to me. He used to pick me up when I walked to the ballpark at home and I'd say to him, 'This is nice. I want it.' "
Griffey was playing used car salesman Thursday, but wasn't starting in the game after leaving Wednesday's game with stiffness behind his right knee.
"I did the ice and stimulation thing all night," said Griffey. "It's something when you carry your own portable stimulation unit. What I forgot, though, was the zip-loc baggies for the ice."
Trainer Mike Mann said Griffey was vastly improved Thursday from when he left Wednesday's game.
"With his medical history, taking him out yesterday was precautionary. We're erring on the side of caution," said Mann. "He's definitely better, came in early and did some work with some heat and massage and it is a lot looser than when he left here Wednesday."
Griffey didn't take batting practice, taking treatment instead to make him available to pinch-hit. He hurt the knee in batting practice Wednesday. He will be evaluated today to see if he can start tonight's opener in St. Louis.
Mann said Griffey felt something when he broke to his right to chase a ball and probably hyper-extended it and he had a stiff feeling the rest of the afternoon.