Griffey passes agility test, set to go

Updated: April 7, 2004, 8:23 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. passed an agility test Wednesday and was back in the Cincinnati Reds lineup, hoping his latest injury won't flare up.

The often-injured outfielder didn't play in the season opener Monday because he was still bothered by a strained right calf. Griffey has been hurt at the outset of the last four seasons.

He ran around cones in right field Wednesday and took extra batting practice, reporting no pain. Griffey declined to talk about it afterward.

Manager Dave Miley was waiting to see how Griffey did before letting him play.

"We had it kind of written out (on the lineup card), but it wasn't posted until he got done with that," Miley said. "All went well."

Griffey, 34, strained his right calf while running out a grounder during the final week of spring training. The injury hadn't fully healed on Monday, so the Reds held him out as a precaution.

Griffey dislocated his shoulder while diving for a ball and tore a tendon in his ankle while running the bases last season, when the Reds' entire outfield was hurt. Austin Kearns injured his shoulder and Adam Dunn hurt his thumb.

Miley had his starting outfield in place Wednesday for the first time since he took over for Bob Boone last July.

"I told (bench coach) Jerry Narron I'm going to keep that (lineup) card," Miley said. "That's the first time I've had him and Kearns in there. I'm going to put that one in my lock box."

Miley hadn't decided whether Griffey would be in the lineup for a day game Thursday that concludes a series against the Chicago Cubs. Rain is expected for early in the day, and the Reds don't want him to aggravate the calf on a slick field.

"We'll see how it goes tonight," Miley said.

Griffey has sustained injuries in each of his last four seasons, diminishing a player who made the All-Century team and was considered the best in the game when he returned to his hometown four years ago.

He tore a hamstring late in his 2001 spring training, tore a tendon in his knee during the first week of the 2002 season, and dislocated his shoulder while diving for a ball in the opening week of last season.

Griffey returned from the shoulder injury and tore a tendon in his ankle in July. He had surgery for both injuries.

The injuries have limited Griffey to 92 starts, 51 starts and 46 starts in the last three seasons.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press