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Thread: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Notes: Kearns meeting expectations
    In lineup every day, outfielder feeling more comfortable
    By Jason Grey / Special to MLB.com

    PHOENIX -- There were a lot of expectations placed on Austin Kearns after he finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting in 2002.

    After a few seasons of battling through various difficulties, it appears Kearns is finally ready to meet them.

    Kearns had a seven-game hit streak, in which he hit .520 (13-for-25), snapped on Saturday night but has gone hitless in consecutive games just once this season. He is among the league leaders in hits, doubles and multi-hit games.

    For his part, manager Jerry Narron doesn't think there is much that is different about him this year.

    "I really don't think there's a big difference," Narron said. "I don't think he's doing anything different. He knows he's going to be in the lineup close to every day, so that might help him."

    That indeed might be the key. When Wily Mo Pena was traded at the end of Spring Training, it assured that Kearns' name would be a fixture on the lineup card.

    "I think playing every day has helped a lot," Kearns said. "I'm more relaxed up there and not trying to do too much. It allows you to work through some things if you have a couple of bad games in a row, and in the past it wasn't that way, so you try to take advantage of being out there."

    After Kearns' fine 2002 campaign, in which he hit .315 with 13 homers in 102 games, things went downhill, mostly due to injuries.

    He suffered a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that ended his season early in 2003. A broken left arm and a right thumb injury cost him most of 2004.

    Last season, in the midst of a poor start and some concerns about his overall conditioning, he was sent to Triple-A for more than a month. He eventually returned to set career highs in homers and RBIs, giving the Reds hope that they would finally be able to see what a healthy, productive Kearns could do over a full year in the big leagues.

    So far, so good.

    "I think confidence is the big thing," said the 25-year-old right fielder. "I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to baseball stuff, and it's easy to be that way, so confidence is a big thing for me."

    Resting up: Ryan Freel has struggled recently, with just three hits in his last 24 at-bats to drop his average to .237. Narron thinks he's pressing at the plate a little bit.

    "I'm sure he is [pressing]," said Narron. "He's human and he's been struggling and he has to be wanting to hit every time he goes up, but he's going to be fine."

    Narron has often talked about making sure that he doesn't overwork Freel, and he gave him the day off on Sunday.

    "Over the last three weeks he's played almost every day," Narron said, "and I think it will help him by taking a couple of days off, as much as I like seeing him in the everyday lineup."

    Offense and defense: The Reds offense has gained a lot of notoriety through the first month of the season by leading the National League in runs scored. Because of that, it's easy to overlook how well the rotation has been performing. Over the last 10 games, the starters have posted a 2.60 ERA.

    "We've pitched well, we really have. I'm tickled to death at the way we've pitched," Narron said.

    A special moment: The Reds and Pirates will play in this summer's exhibition Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, N.Y., on May 15. The Reds have not played in the game since 1967.

    Four-year-old Kobe Stenson, son of the late Reds outfielder Dernell Stenson -- who was killed in Phoenix during the 2003 Arizona Fall League -- will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the game. Stenson was shot and then run over with his own SUV on Nov. 5, 2003, in what appeared to be a carjacking, but was ultimately determined to be part of a more elaborate robbery scheme. Ken Griffey Jr. will meet with the young boy and asked the Hall of Fame if Kobe could throw the pitch.

    Finally nabbed: Felipe Lopez was caught stealing in the first inning of Sunday's game, ending a streak of 11 straight to start the season, the most since Deion Sanders stole 11 in a row to begin the 1997 season. No Reds player had done more than that since Gary Redus went 15-for-15 in 1984.

    Did you know? If you believe in omens, the start of the Reds season is a good sign of possible things to come. At 20-11 going into Sunday afternoon's game, the team is off to its best start since the 1995 playoff team began with the same record. Winning 21 of their first 32 games hasn't happened since the 1990 World Series champion club went 24-8.

    On deck: Monday is a travel day back to Cincinnati, where the Reds will open a six-game homestand against the Nationals on Tuesday night. Southpaw Brandon Claussen (2-3, 5.63 ERA) will start for the Reds, with Tony Armas Jr. (2-2, 3.98 ERA) going for the Nationals.

    Jason Grey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASAp...=.jsp&c_id=cin
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  3. #2
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    And he owes it all to Jenny Craig!
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Now might be the time to trade him.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Playing every day helps Kearns, but hurts Freel.

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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    I don't think it would be a good time to trade Kearns right now b/c of Griffey being hurt.Saying that thow I would like to see a Austin Kearns,Jason Larue,and a pitching prospect from the minors to the Dimondbacks for Brandon Webb.

    Yeah I know the Dimondsbacks would'nt go for it but I can dream.
    I can spell,I just can't type!!

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Kearns + Healthy = great production

    Kearns + Great Production = Rediculous trade hopes

    Trade Freel.

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    '92 Les Paul Custom Az Red's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Trade !?!? NO!!!!!!!!!

    Sign him to a LTC NOW !!!!!!
    Hope Springs Eternal

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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by Az Red
    Trade !?!? NO!!!!!!!!!

    Sign him to a LTC NOW !!!!!!
    What he said.
    Benzinger backing and calling! And the 1990 world championship series belongs to the Cincinnati Reds!

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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Kearns hitting success no surprise to Chambliss
    By Hal McCoy

    Staff Writer

    PHOENIX | Almost without notice, with no fanfare, batting most of the time down in the seventh spot in the Cincinnati Reds batting order, Austin Kearns is becoming a force.

    With a home run and two doubles Sunday in a power-packed 9-8 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kearns is batting .328.

    And it is no surprise to batting instructor Chris Chambliss, who made a minor adjustment during spring training that is bringing major results.

    "We worked at getting his hands away from his body a little bit," said Chambliss. "He seems to be getting more and more comfortable with it."

    Kearns agrees.

    "I always kept my hands pretty close to my body, sometimes too close and tied myself up," he said. "I've worked with Chris on keeping them away and it works."

    Chambliss also notices Kearns is more selective.

    "He is swinging at strikes and seeing the ball," he said. "It's all a matter of being able to see what you're swinging at. You see good pitches and swing at good pitches and better things happen."

    Kearns feels in a hitter's mood these days, but knows it comes and goes.

    "When you're going good you're not usually missing mistakes," he said. "You get a good pitch and you don't foul it off or miss it. I feel much better than last year, when sometimes I'd pick up a bat and feel great and the next day I'd feel like I was starting all over."


    The inside story

    Felipe Lopez hit an inside the park home run Saturday night, his second professional inside the park home run.

    "I had one in Class AA for Tennessee (Blue Jays) and it was the same way the ball hit a wall and ricocheted away from the outfielder, but that one was much harder because the park was smaller."

    He admitted he got tired circling the bases like Barbaro pounding down the Churchill Downs stretch.

    "It was my first at-bat, early in the game, and I was really loose yet," he said. "Tired? Oh, yeah. I was running hard all the way. I saw (third base coach) Mark Berry waving me on. When I hit third I saw where the ball was figured I had a chance and never slowed up."

    Told it is a tough way to get a home run, he said, "Yeah, I know. A stupid way to hit one."

    It was the first Cincinnati inside the park home run since Ken Griffey Jr. ended a game against St. Louis with one in Cinergy Field on Sept. 20, 2001.


    The Griffey Report

    Speaking of Griffey, when the Reds play an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates a week from today in Cooperstown, N.Y., Kobe Stenson will throw out the first pitch, at the request of Griffey.

    Stenson, 4, is a son of former Reds outfielder Dernell Stenson, gunned down during a robbery in Phoenix during the 2003 Arizona Fall League. Griffey was scheduled to meet the kid and asked the Hall of Fame if Kobe could throw out a first pitch.

    That, of course, is assuming Griffey will be with the Reds at the time. His knee will be tested with drills Tuesday and a decision will be made after that abut his immediate future.


    He's Shoeless Chris

    Chris Denorfia has a new nickname Shoeless Chris Denorfia.

    He was spotted in a hotel elevator Sunday morning with a sport coat, slacks, black socks and no shoes.

    "I stupidly packed my shoes then sent my suitcase to the luggage truck," he said, scurrying outside to the truck to retrieve his bag as teammates giggled.

    His bag was yanked off the truck and Denorfia was on his knees on a driveway fumbling in the suitcase for his shoes.

    "I have a feeling I'm going to be reading about this," he said.

    Well, yeah.


    Brotherly understanding

    Manager Jerry Narron preaches his play the game right and don't make mistakes credo to everybody and anybody every day, including his brother, Johnny Narron.

    Johnny Narron is in Phoenix at extended spring training as a coach for the Milwaukee Brewers and later will coach at Helena in the Pioneer Rookie League.

    After the Reds gave up seven runs Friday in the second inning to the Diamondbacks, making three errors, Narron's brother, who was at the game, said to him, "Now I know why you always talk about doing the little things and doing things right."

    And he saw it again Sunday, even though the Reds scraped a win, 9-8.

    The Reds led, 4-0, in the third and had one out with a runner on first. But on a grounder to the mound, pitcher Dave Williams couldn't get the ball to second base quickly enough to start an inning-ending double play, getting only the second out. What followed was a two-out torrent, five D-Back runs.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...snotesweb.html
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Joe Oliver love-child Blimpie's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by wheels
    Now might be the time to trade him.
    Stop...my ribs.
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  12. #11
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    Surprised the prospect of Griffey returning tomorrow isn't getting more discussion on the board now that I see it's mentioned above in Hal's daily missive. I was all geared up to start a new thread about it, too.

    Is this due to a lack of love or lack of optimism?

    From Sportsline:

    OF Ken Griffey Jr. (knee stiffness) went on the disabled list retroactive to April 13. He will be tested again Tuesday (May 9) with the hope he might return that day.

  13. #12
    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    We've been hearing this for two weeks. I'll get excited when I see his name in the lineup.
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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    Can he be stopped?
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    I wonder how many bats AK has lost this young season? Has holding the bat farther away from his body helped him keep a hold on them? He was losing them like gangbusters late last season.

    And, no, DO NOT trade Kearns unless you are going to get a solid pitcher... a #2 or #3 guy for him.
    Tom Shearn... who knew?

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  15. #14
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    First the debate, for quite some time, was who do we trade?.... Kearns or Pena?

    Well.... we were able to trade Pena (right move IMO), because it wasn't gonna create a void in RF with Kearns available. In fact, it now puts Kearns in RF on a regular basis to really actually prove himself, and not being concerned over platooning/sharing time.

    The eyes are now on Kearns to prove his worth. I personally think he is showing that.

    Trade Kearns? Then who replaces him? The "train wreck" Freel? You'd regret that move.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Notes: Kearns meeting expectations

    I never had a doubt in my mind about Kearns. Stats dont always catch what the eye can see, like his gracefullness in the OF, and disciplen at the plate. Even when he struck out, he was usually carefull about what he swung at. I have always favored him over Dunner, not that I dont love the Dunner, but to me, Kearns has always carried the full package. Wheather it be hitting a homer, spraying it into left for a double to knock a run in, or catch a ball that just seemed uncatchable. I am just glad he is doing what I knew he could do, what he did his first year and a half in the majors... and make me proud to be a fan. Go Austin!! Welcome back!!


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