07/11/2004 3:00 PM ET
Larkin, Graves going to Houston
Griffey, Casey to miss All-Star Game with injuries
By Todd Lorenz / MLB.com
|Reds captain Barry Larkin is heading to his 12th All-Star Game. (David Kohl/AP)
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have been playing far better than anyone expected this season, and they were rewarded last Sunday by having four players named to the 2004 National League All-Star team.
Ken Griffey Jr., Sean Casey, Danny Graves and Barry Larkin will represent Cincinnati at this year's Midsummer Classic.
"I'm really happy for all four of those guys," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "I hope they enjoy it."
Graves, also named to the 2000 squad, will be making his second All-Star appearance. He came into Sunday's game with a league-leading 31 saves and, like Casey, was voted in by his peers.
"That's when it really counts, to have the guys you're playing against recognize you," he said.
"I've been to one [All-Star Game], so I always said I'll have that, but this is just as exciting. I'm really looking forward to it."
While Graves, Griffey and Casey probably have a few more All-Star Games ahead of them, this might be Larkin's last.
The Cincinnati captain has said this might be his final season, and he was obviously thankful to his former manager and NL All-Star skipper, Jack McKeon, for choosing him.
"I've got a call to Jack scheduled," Larkin said. "I want him to know that I do appreciate it."
Being in his final season, some might think Larkin was chosen with a sympathetic nod.
Then they'll look at the numbers.
At 40 years old, Larkin is playing better-than-expected defense and batting .294 with four homers and 30 RBIs.
Like Griffey, Larkin will be making his 12th All-Star appearance. All of his, however, have come as a member of the Reds -- the last in 2000.
"It's an All-Star Game," he said. "It's always an honor. I don't care if it's your first one, second one, 11th one or whatever. You're always happy to be on the team and represent the Reds."
With four players on the All-Star Roster, the Reds are tied with the Marlins for the most members on this year's NL squad.
Griffey was the only Reds player elected to start, but he will miss the game on July 13 at Minute Maid Park in Houston with a partial tear of his right hamstring.
Griffey finished second among all outfielders in National League voting. San Francisco's Barry Bonds and Chicago's Sammy Sosa are the other starters in what would have been the first-ever starting All-Star outfield comprised completely of 500 Home Run Club members.
This season's All-Star Game will mark Griffey's 12th All-Star invitation, and his second representing the Senior Circuit's side.
"You always appreciate it," Griffey said. "You never want to take it for granted when somebody does something for you. The fans took the time to vote for you."
Griffey has made all of his All-Star appearances via the fan vote. The last one came in 2000, his first season with Cincinnati, when Griffey finished third in the voting among NL outfielders. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to play because of injuries. It was the third time he'd missed an All-Star start because of injury.
Griffey is happy that he'll be able to share a flight to Houston with three teammates.
"It's always nicer when you know somebody," Griffey said. "We're gonna make Casey pay for everything."
Too bad that's probably all he'll be able to do.
The Reds put the first baseman on the 15-day disabled list last Sunday with an upper right calf strain. The move is retroactive to June 28.
"I'll see how I'm doing at the end of the week," he said. "If I can't help this team, I don't think I'll be able to help an All-Star team. If I don't play, I'll still go there and enjoy the festivities."
Casey will be making his third All-Star appearance after being named to the team in 1999 and 2000. Despite his calf strain, he's hitting .352 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs and is among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category.
Todd Lorenz is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.