Ken Griffey Jr. will miss an All-Star Game due to injury for the fourth time. (Al Behrman/AP)
MILWAUKEE -- Ken Griffey Jr. is no stranger to playing in All-Star Games. Unfortunately, he's no stranger to sitting them out either.
The Reds announced Sunday morning that their center fielder will not participate in the Century 21 All-Star Home Run Derby or in Tuesday's 75th All-Star Game due to a partial tear in his right hamstring.
It will be the fourth time in his career that Griffey is unable to play in the Midsummer Classic because of an injury.
"I heard (about his injury) and it breaks my heart," Chicago's Sammy Sosa said. "We're human. One year, one week you can hit seven home runs and the next week you're out."
Griffey suffered the tear while attempting to track down a fly ball in right-center field on Saturday night at Miller Park. He was immediately removed from the game and flown back to Cincinnati, where he was examined by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek on Sunday morning.
The results weren't what the Reds were hoping for.
"The MRI revealed a partial tear in his right hamstring muscle," Reds trainer Mark Mann explained. "The results made it plainly obvious that he needed to be placed on the 15-day disabled list."
Knowing that Griffey will miss the Midsummer Classic was an obvious disappointment to his teammates, but meant little compared to the knowledge that he won't be around after the break.
"The All-Star Game's the All-Star Game," said Reds captain Barry Larkin. "It's cool, and it's fun for the fans, but it doesn't count. The fact that he's not going to be in the lineup, that's what really [stinks].
"Just his presence in the clubhouse makes a huge difference."
How long the Reds will be forced to go without that presence remains unclear.
Ken Griffey / CF
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
"He'll be evaluated on a regular basis," Mann said. "At the end of the 15-day period, we'll have a better idea of the time frame."
Griffey, who was slated to be part of baseball's first starting All-Star outfield comprised solely of members of the 500 Home Run club, will end the first half of the season hitting .251 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs.
"He'll receive treatment today and tomorrow morning," Mann said. "Then he'll be back in Cincinnati for more treatment on Tuesday."
It won't be anything new for Griffey.
In the last three seasons, Griffey has played in just 234 games because of injuries. This season, he's played in 80 of Cincinnati's 88 games, but recently missed five starts with a calf injury and sat out Opening Day with a similar problem.
"He's doing OK," Mann said about Griffey's mindset. "We've been down this road before, and the timing wasn't good. It never is, but he's obviously disappointed."
Already shorthanded because of Ryan Freel staying in Cincinnati with a left knee injury, the Reds transferred Austin Kearns from the 15 to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for John Vander Wal, whose contract was then purchased to take Griffey's place on the roster.
Vander Wal had been on a Triple-A rehab assignment in Louisville after tearing an ACL this winter.
"He's flying right now," Miley said prior to Sunday's first pitch. "He'll be here. If not before the game, then some time during it."
Griffey will attend Major League Baseball's press conference and ceremonies honoring the living members of the 500 Home Run Club at Minute Maid Park on Monday, but won't stick around for Tuesday's game.
Griffey won't be the only Reds player forced out of the game. First baseman Sean Casey will attend, but won't play because he's been on the disabled list with an upper right calf strain.
Casey, however, should be able to open the second half with Cincinnati.
"Losing [Griffey] is going to be very tough," said outfielder Adam Dunn. "Just when we're about to get one guy back, we lose another one. It seems like right now it's one of those times where if we didn't have bad luck, we wouldn't have any at all."
Todd Lorenz is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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