Season over for Reds' Freel, club claims ex-Mariner Ellison

Updated: August 8, 2007, 7:06 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Outfielder Ryan Freel had season-ending knee surgery Wednesday, prompting the Cincinnati Reds to claim outfielder Jason Ellison off waivers from Seattle.

Freel has been bothered by a bone spur and cartilage damage in his right knee. He hoped that doctors could get him back on the field this season, but knew that the knee most likely would require more extensive repair and rehabilitation.

The 31-year-old outfielder is expected to be ready for spring training.

Freel opened the season as the starting center fielder, but struggled at the plate and was moved to third base when rookie Josh Hamilton started the season strong. Freel then missed 30 games with a concussion after running into a teammate while catching a fly ball.

Freel batted .245 with three homers and 16 RBIs, a major disappointment in what he had hoped would be his breakout season. He got a two-year, $7 million contract extension in April.

The sore knee prevented Freel from using the speed that is the foundation of his game.

"I was anxious for him to get into midseason form," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He never really got into it, at least not while I was here."

Ellison will get a chance to fill in for Freel. The 29-year-old outfielder batted .283 in 63 games this season, before he was replaced on the Mariners' roster by prospect Adam Jones.

"He's a pesky little hitter," Mackanin said. "He's a lot like Ryan Freel, that type of a player. He's a high-energy player."

Ellison is expected to join the Reds on Thursday. They will get rid of one of their 13 pitchers to open a roster spot.

Ellison batted .264 with four home runs and 14 stolen bases for San Francisco in 2005. He began last season with the Giants, played most of the second half with Triple-A Fresno, then was recalled in September. He was traded to Seattle on April 1 for left-hander Travis Blackley.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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