Thursday, May 31, 2001
Kremchek says he underestimated Griffey's injury
By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A day after Jim Bowden said Ken Griffey Jr.'s injury was “misdiagnosed” before apologizing, Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek amended the general manager's retraction.
“I think the term "misdiagnosis' was not the right term to use. I think "underestimation' of the extent of the injury, how long he would be out, is certainly very accurate,” Kremchek said Wednesday. “I think we all initially underestimated that and figured after a few weeks it was going to be a little bit longer than it was.”
Griffey, the All-Century Team center fielder, injured his hamstring March 26. At the time, Kremchek said Griffey might play Opening Day, April 2.
But Griffey could only pinch hit, going 0-for-12 until he was placed on the disabled list April 29. An MRI on April 17 discovered a partial tear and that the hamstring had been pulled higher up than first thought.
Bowden created a fuss with his “misdiagnosed” remark during his Tuesday radio show on WLW-AM (700). Confronted by Kremchek, Bowden apologized less than four hours later.
Kremchek, who admitted feeling initially angry upon hearing Bowden's comment, praised Reds chief operating officer John Allen for “mediating” the situation, saying, “He was able to cool me down and bring both parties together for the good of the organization.”
Kremchek also reiterated his respect for Bowden: “He has helped me tremendously in my career and helped develop me as a baseball doctor. I have no ill will toward him. Zero.”
It was impossible to misdiagnose the players' respect for Kremchek.
“He's the best. Period,” said shortstop Barry Larkin, who has suffered a variety of injuries during Kremchek's five-year tenure with the Reds. “He understands the game and the players' mentality, which is extremely important.”
“He has bent over backwards to get me in the right direction as fast as possible,” said right-hander Pete Harnisch, who has struggled with shoulder and elbow problems. “And he's been (honest) with me. My experience with him is nothing but positive.”
Said reliever Scott Winchester, who underwent major shoulder surgery in 1998: “He's always gone the extra yard for me. I've come back as strong or stronger than I was before my injury.”
Griffey declined to comment on the latest controversy stemming from his injury: “I'm not going to touch that with a foul pole.”