Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Ken Griffey Jr. did not hit his 600th career home run Thursday in Philadelphia, but he came about as close as you can get.
A ninth-inning towering drive to center field was tracked down at the wall by Shane Victorino, robbing the fans of a chance to witness history while at the same time preserving a 5-0 shutout for Cole Hamels, the second of his young career. But a funny thing happened as Griffey left the field for the final time in the series ... he got a standing ovation. It was the same type of positive, supportive reaction that he received when he pinch-hit in the first two games of this road trip, which is seemingly unprecedented for a visiting player in a city that takes a sort of perverse pride in its infamous "booing of Santa Claus" reputation.
When Cincinnati faces the Florida Marlins in Miami in a four-game series beginning Friday, no doubt the reception for The Kid will be equally as warm as he attempts to do what only five other hitters have done before -- and that's a breath of fresh air after the catcalls and insults we witnessed last season during another quest for another home run milestone. While Barry Bonds' chase to eclipse Hank Aaron was overshadowed by the BALCO controversy and doubts as to the validity of the pursuit, there seems to be nothing but goodwill from fans and media alike as Griffey continues his quest for 600. But even though the journey seems to be a far more enjoyable one for Griffey than it ever was for Bonds, that doesn't mean the ultimate destination will end up being any different: a one-way ticket out of town.
The fact remains that Griffey is in the final year of a nine-year, $116.5 million contract and, although the team has a $16.5 million option for next season, the emergence of Jay Bruce may actually end up making the decision to trade Griffey shortly after he reaches his milestone all the easier. Yes, he'd have to approve any deal, but Junior is now the senior member of this team, and although the Reds' future looks bright, it's unlikely that Griffey will be able to last long enough to reach the World Series for the first time if he stays put. And if David Ortiz's injury is truly going to cause him to miss the rest of the season, wouldn't Griffey look real good in a Boston uniform?
Be happy for Griffey as he makes history. But, given his age, and the very real possibility of a change in leagues, fantasy owners who have Griffey in their lineups should strike at the height of this current wave of positivity and sell high before all this "general soreness" that caused Dusty Baker to keep him out of the starting lineup for a few days becomes something far more serious and severely cuts into his market value.• Past editions: 6/5: Myers-Volquez showdown | 6/4: Joba struggles | 6/3: Replacing Papi
Matt Stairs, Blue Jays
After a cold May and an even colder start to June, Matt Stairs needed a game like this; a 3-for-5 game with a home run, a double, two runs scored and five RBIs. If you used to own Chris Duncan, this is his replacement on your roster.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Padres
We could have tabbed Adrian Gonzalez here, as well. Kouzmanoff left six men on base with his 1-for-4 night, Gonzalez left five in an 0-fer performance. The Chase Headley watch continues.
Trouble at the top? The Red Sox may be in first place, but they seem to be falling apart. Jacoby Ellsbury sprained his wrist making a diving catch (X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day) capping off a night where Coco Crisp got ejected for brawling with James Shields and Jonny Gomes of the Rays, and later saw Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis needing to be separated from each other in the dugout. All this, and the team is on a 15-game home winning streak! Imagine what might happen if they start losing. Joe Crede sat out another game for the White Sox with a bruised right wrist. Crede says he will be able to play Friday. Suspensions will be forthcoming for Coco and Co., but the league has already doled out punishment to Matt Kemp and Yorvit Torrealba for their wrestling match earlier in the week. Kemp will miss four games and Torrealba three, though both are appealing and will continue to play until their cases are heard. The Padres' Tadahito Iguchi appears headed for the disabled list after separating his shoulder, stumbling while trying to avoid a hard-hit ground ball on the base paths. Manager Bud Black says the initial report is that Iguchi could miss at least a month. Edgar Gonzalez likely will fill in, at least for now. Jimmy Rollins was taken out of Friday's game by manager Charlie Manuel for a "lack of hustle" but rest assured, he says he got the message and should be back in the lineup on Friday. Rick Ankiel missed both ends of the Cardinals' day-night double-header with an infection in his right knee. No word on when he'll be able to get back into action. Josh Anderson will continue to get time in the Braves outfield as Greg Norton's left knee continue to give him problems. Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla, who has been on a bereavement leave, is scheduled to rejoin the team and pitch on Friday against the Rays. Dave Trembley has given shortstop Freddie Bynum a vote of confidence despite his .212 average.
"The Tigers took Ryan Perry in the first round and followed up with former Team USA closer Cody Satterwhite and Kentucky reliever Scott Green in the second and third rounds, so they might simply sign all these players and replace their entire bullpen by July 1."
-- Keith Law Full Story
• The Cincinnati Reds brought Homer Bailey back to the big leagues from Triple-A Louisville and released aging veteran Scott Hatteberg. After going 4-2 with a 5.76 ERA in nine starts last season, Bailey had a more promising 2008 debut, giving up only two earned runs (five overall) on just four hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Phillies.
• Minnesota activated Scott Baker from the DL and threw him right into action against the Orioles. Baker gave up two runs and five hits in five innings. Infielder Matt Macri was sent down to Triple-A.
• Reason No. 807 why you don't draft rookies too early in fantasy, even highly touted ones: J.R. Towles has been sent to Triple-A Round Rock by the Astros after hitting only .145 in 42 appearances. Humberto Quintero will take his spot on the roster and will share time with Brad Ausmus, who is only hitting .195 himself.
• Vernon Wells began his rehab assignment at Class A Dunedin with a bang. Wells, who was the team's designated hitter, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs, a good sign that his broken left wrist has healed both properly and ahead of schedule.
• Ryan Doumit, the Pirates' catcher, went 1-for-3 for Double-A Altoona as he recovers from a fractured left thumb. Expect Doumit to be activated Friday, at the expense of a disappointing Ronny Paulino.
• Matt Holliday delayed the start of his hamstring recovery due to rainy weather in Colorado Springs, but Brad Hawpe continued his slow return from the disabled list, going 1-for-4 in his third rehab game for the Triple-A club. Hawpe could return as early to the injury-plagued Rockies as soon as Friday.