Right knee stiffness sidelines Griffey vs. Cards

Updated: April 14, 2006, 6:57 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Ken Griffey Jr. missed his second straight start with stiffness in his right knee on Friday night, and the Cincinnati Reds made a move to add outfield depth.

The Reds purchased the contract of Quinton McCracken, who can play all three outfield positions, from Sarasota of the Class A Florida State League. They designated infielder Andy Abad for assignment.

Griffey left Wednesday's game because of the knee. Both he and manager Jerry Narron were hopeful he could play Saturday.

"We're just taking it one day at a time," Griffey said. "Just a little stiffness."

Narron said the 35-year-old McCracken would have made the Opening Day roster except for an ankle injury sustained late in spring training. McCracken, who batted .356 in the exhibition season, had been signed to a minor-league contract.

"He did really well," Narron said. "With Griffey being day-to-day, it gives us an extra outfielder."

McCracken arrived in time for the opener of a three-game series at St. Louis. He had been 8-for-16 at Sarasota with a triple and three runs scored.

He remembered Narron telling him he had made the team and called the injury an "ankle sprain, nothing more, nothing less."

"At that time it was reassuring," McCracken said. "Look what happened. I showed the organization I was healthy and ready to go, and here we are.

"That's not the first obstacle I've met throughout my playing career," he added.

The 33-year-old Abad made five appearances, all as a pinch-hitter, going 0-for-3 with two walks.

The series was the Reds' first against Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, who was released on the second day of spring training after reporting 17 pounds overweight. The Cardinals quickly signed him and he made the team as a middle reliever.

Cincinnati had a weight target for Hancock because he had spent most of the previous season on the disabled list with a pulled groin.

"He just did not show us he was committed to doing what we asked him to do, simple as that," Narron said.

Narron wasn't surprised that Hancock made a major-league roster. He said releasing the right-hander that early had been a "great service" to the player.

"We could have buried him," Narron said. "I know if I was a player I'd want to be released as quickly as I could in spring training."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press