Reds Notes: Griffey still day to day
By Hal McCoy / Staff Writer
CINCINNATI — Ken Griffey Jr. didn’t matriculate off the disabled list Tuesday, but he did put on an awe-inspiring batting practice session that put a severe dent in the batting practice baseball supply.
Washington Nationals broadcastser Tom Paciorek, a former major-league player, watched in disbelief.
“He hasn’t changed his swing one bit in his entire career, not one thing,” he said. “I was playing with the Chicago White Sox when the Seattle Mariners drafted him (1987) and he was 18.
“They brought him to Kingdome and he took batting practice and I watched and I said, ‘Oh, my. Oh, my.’ He already was better than anybody on either team and he already was better than his dad and his dad was a great player.”
So what’s with Griffey?
Status quo. Still working, still running, still taking batting practice, still on the disabled list.
“He did better today,” said manager Jerry Narron. “He took fly balls and ran the bases. To me, he didn’t look like he was holding back. So it looks as if he is getting close. I thought he was holding back on his base-running on the last homestand. If he was holding back today, he was doing a good job of faking it.”
Griffey said he did hold back a bit and that it might have looked as if he was full go, “Because of my deceptive speed.” And he laughed.
“I do think I’ve turned the corner,” he said. “Pitchers have dead arms when they use ’em a lot and to me it was like a dead leg. I couldn’t get over the hump, but now it is starting to get there. That’s a good sign for me to get back and we’ll see how it is tomorrow. It is the best I’ve felt running.”
Griffey said the only thing holding him back is the ability to turn on the bases and that he’ll be back when he feels he can go from first to third or from second to home.
Griffey realizes that his extended absence has put pressure on trainer Mark Mann and team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek.
“I’ve done this a few more times than I would have liked,” he said. “I know the media gets tired of asking me and Mann and Dr. Kremchek about me and I know it’s tough on them. They work their tails off. Everybody thought I was coming back 10 days ago or a week ago, but it just didn’t work out and we just keep battling.”
Narron was hopeful Griffey could return Tuesday. His didn’t fill out his lineup card until after Griffey’s workout.
More injury updates
On other injury fronts, pitcher Eric Milton (knee surgery) took fielding practice Tuesday and is scheduled to either pitch a simulated game or face hitters today and if all goes well he will be the starting pitcher Monday in the Hall of Fame exhibition game in Cooperstown, N.Y., against the Pirates.
Pitcher Paul Wilson, scratched from a rehab start Sunday for Class AAA Louisville, played long toss Tuesday, but Narron said it was uncertain when he would make another start or climb back onto the mound.
Rich Aurilia (right groin pull) is walking without a limp and felt good enough that he fielded ground balls hit right at him Tuesday and took batting practice.
“There is no hurry because I can’t come off the disabled list until the 19th, but I’m bored watching everybody else play,” he said.