Originally created 05/05/04

Griffey out of lineup with tight hamstring



CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the Reds lineup Tuesday as a precaution because of a tight hamstring.

The center fielder felt it tighten after chasing a flyball in the outfield during a 7-5 victory in Houston on Monday night, and left the game. The leg felt better on Tuesday, but manager Dave Miley held him in reserve as a pinch-hitter.

"It's getting better," Griffey said. "It just tightened up and we don't want to take the chance of doing anything else (to make it worse). Hopefully, that's it."

Griffey, 34, has been plagued by leg problems the last few years. He strained a calf while running out a grounder the last week in spring training, and missed the season opener.

Various injuries limited him to 92 starts in 2001, 51 starts in 2002 and 46 starts last season, when he dislocated his shoulder and tore an ankle tendon.

Griffey slowed up in the outfield when he realized he wasn't going to get to Roy Oswalt's flyball in the bottom of the second inning, and felt the hamstring stiffen. He came out of the game an inning later.

"I was thinking I might be diving (for Oswalt's single), and realized I was not going to catch it," he said. "It just tightened up."

Griffey is one of four Reds who have missed time in the last week because of injuries. Outfielder Austin Kearns broke his forearm, catcher Jason LaRue broke a finger, and utility player Ryan Freel strained his neck.

Kearns was hurt when Ryan Vogelsong's pitch hit him on the left arm, just above the wrist, on April 26. He had the cast removed on Monday.

The crack in the forearm bone is small, and Kearns is hopeful that he can return in a few weeks. He swung a bat Tuesday in the indoor batting cages with the wrist wrapped.

He'll wear a brace when he's not working out.

"The doctor is pretty upbeat about it," Kearns said. "He thought that maybe it will be two or three more weeks."

Kearns said the wrist is a little stiff after a week in a cast.

"Once I get it moving, the soreness goes away," he said. "The swelling's basically down. It looks normal."

LaRue broke the tip of his right index finger when the ball hit it while he tried to bunt last Wednesday. He went on the 15-day disabled list, and the Reds will have a better idea of how long he'll be sidelined later this week.

Freel strained his neck while diving for a popup behind second base on Sunday and had to leave the game. He didn't appear in Monday's game.



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