Griffey pinch-hits in Reds' loss to Phils
Sitting on 599 homers, slugger walks on four pitches in eighth
PHILADELPHIA -- Reds right fielder Ken Griffey Jr., who is currently at 599 career home runs, was out of the starting lineup for a second straight night against the Phillies on Tuesday."My general soreness is getting better," Griffey joked. General soreness was listed as the reason for Griffey's absence on Monday and Tuesday. However, the 38-year-old has been favoring a left knee injury for several weeks and has often worn a wrap. Consider it a freak injury. "I hit a corner in the dugout with my kneecap," Griffey said on Tuesday. "It kept hurting." Griffey has missed only four entire games of the previous 58, but this is the first time this season he's been out of the starting lineup for back-to-back games. Rookie Jay Bruce was in right field, and Ryan Freel was in center for the second straight night.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Griffey was among a few Reds players that participated in an early batting practice session on the field at Citizens Bank Park."He's better today than he was yesterday," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Yesterday, he really wasn't available to pinch-hit unless it was an emergency. Today, he could pinch-hit. I know he hates missing this park and a couple of guys he's hit pretty good. I'm sure they don't miss him." Griffey appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Cincinnati's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday. In a surprising moment for a visiting player, the crowd of 45,096 fans cheered when Griffey's name was announced. Flashbulbs popped on every pitch from reliever Tom Gordon, who has given up six Griffey homers over his career. Fans booed Gordon in disappointment as he issued a walk to Griffey on four pitches. Pitcher Bronson Arroyo pinch-ran at first base. "I wasn't trying to give any of those guys anything to hit, not so much Griffey," Gordon said. "I didn't pay that much attention to Griffey until I looked up and saw who he was. Other than that, I knew the situation. Griffey's faced me. Whether it was 599 or 600, whatever he's trying to go after right now, he's got me a few times, so I'm already a part of that. It didn't make any difference whether or not I was going face him or not. When I got 2-0, I didn't care what he thought. Or what anybody else thought."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.