(AP) Cincinnati, OH - Cincy pitcher goes MIA

Today the Cincinnati Reds announced Reds starting pitcher Eric Milton has joined the witness protection program. Milton, in his second year in Cincinnati, has been recieving threats from the famed Cincy street gang, "Mean Greene" named after former Cincinnati third baseman Wille Greene. Milton, now will be in a safehouse and guarded by two FBI officers at all time. Milton will not be in the Cincinnati clubhouse on days where he does not pitch, and security will be tripled in home starts.

The threats are have said to occur in increasing numbers throughout the year as Milton's ERA has continued to rise. According to his contract with the club, Milton has a players option for several million dollars next year, prompting the threats. "what am I supposed to do? Not take the money?", says Milton who explained, "with my ability at this point in time I would be lucky to be a hot dog vender at this stadium next year."

The contract looks to have a major effect on the Reds organization, by handcuffing team executives from spending money on better players. Milton finished by saying, "Hey, I've hit the jackpot here. They can make all the threats they want, but all I have to do is give up a few HR's every week or so, and go home and spend a few days in the hot tub."

2006 AP