Final Reds outfield spots up for grabs
By Hal McCoy
Monday, February 26, 2007
SARASOTA — The candidates are many and the available spots are few in the Cincinnati Reds outfield.
Manager Jerry Narron says there are four for-sures, "And it is going to be interesting for the fifth spot."
The anointed four are Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel and Jeff Conine. The fifth spot is to be determined among Josh Hamilton, Chris Denorfia, Norris Hopper, Bubba Crosby and anybody who walks in off the street swinging a potent bat and carrying a magnetized glove.
What Narron likes about all the candidates is versatility and said, "Other than Dunn, all can play center field."
And he smiles sagely when asked whether Freel will play center or right and will Griffey play right.
"Freel is going to play a lot of right field AND center field this spring," said Narron. "Which one he'll play the most, I don't know yet. We have a lot of guys who can play center and we need to look at them a lot. Center field? I don't think it's unresolved at all. We have a a bunch of guys here who can play center. I'm going to play all our outfielders all over. Junior is not ready, but I hope he plays soon."
Narron smiled at the writer, realizing he was fishing for a clue as to whether Griffey will play right field, and said, "Are you looking for a scoop?"
Griffey in solitary
When the Reds play an intrasquad game Wednesday, the only non-participating position player will be Griffey, still strengthening the left hand he broke in December.
Griffey does stretching exercises with the team and shags fly balls, then things change.
"They send me on the back lot, over to Field Z, where everybody stands and watches me with their arms folded," he said. "I'm still in solitary confinement and if don't get out soon they're going to need a strait jacket for me."
There is no due date for Griffey's release from solitary, but he still isn't taking batting practice.
Manager Jerry Narron insists his list of pitchers expected to participate in Wednesday's intrasquad game, "Is definitely subject to change, all tentative," but here is the lengthy list:
Bronson Arroyo (the only member of the first four in the rotation expected to appear), Calvin Medlock, Michael Gosling, Kerry Ligtenberg, Phil Dumatrait, Tom Shearn, Brad Salmon, Homer Bailey, Jason Kershner and Jon Coutlangus.
Just a big kid
Dunn asked for two tickets to see the movie '23' at a downtown Sarasota theatre and was asked to prove his age with ID.
"What? How old do you have to be to see this movie?" said Dunn, 27. He was told he had to show ID because he bought two tickets. "Guess the guy thought I was buying a ticket for a 7-year-old. I've never carded in my life," he said.
The other ticket was for Griffey, who was standing next to the ticket booth, arms folded, laughing heartily.
Narron's answer to a question about Ryan Freel being a part-time starter and a plug-in player: "Ryan Freel is a starter. He just doesn't always start at the same spot. But this year he'll mostly start in center and right and won't be seen much in the infield."