Reds dump pitcher Hancock for reporting overweight

Updated: February 18, 2006, 6:23 PM ET
Associated Press

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Josh Hancock was released Saturday by the Cincinnati Reds a day into spring training after the right-hander reported to camp overweight.

The 27-year-old Hancock missed most of last season with a groin injury suffered in spring training. Hancock and the rest of the Reds pitchers and catchers took physicals on Friday.

Manager Jerry Narron said Hancock, whose weight is listed at 207 pounds, reported 17 pounds too heavy. General manager Wayne Krivsky went along with Narron's suggestion to release Hancock a day into spring training.

Narron spoke to his players at the end of last season and urged them to be serious about their offseason conditioning programs. He was stunned that Hancock showed up overweight.

"I have no clue what Josh Hancock was doing," Narron said. "As far as I know, he might have been running a marathon all winter long. He may have been throwing off the mound. But he was 17 pounds over his requested reporting weight.

"Can he be a successful major league pitcher 17 pounds more than he's asked to be? Maybe. But we looked at last year -- he was on the disabled list for 133 games -- and just did not see the commitment that we wanted to see this winter."

The Reds acquired Hancock from Philadelphia in 2004.

He went 5-1 with a 4.45 ERA in nine starts and three relief appearances for Cincinnati in 2004, putting him in the competition for a bullpen spot when spring training began last year.

He hurt his groin in his final spring game and aggravated the injury during a rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Louisville in June. During another rehabilitation assignment with Louisville, he developed a sore elbow that sidelined him again.

Hancock made 11 relief appearances in September, going 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA -- an encouraging showing. Narron hopes that Hancock's release on Saturday makes him realize what he has to do to pitch in the majors.

"I really believe you earn things in this game," Narron said. "When you're on the disabled list 133 games, you haven't earned the right to come in 17 pounds overweight."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press