Sports Outside the Beltway

Griffey to Right

Cincinnati’s favorite son may see some time in rightfield in 2007.

The expected news is that Ken Griffey Jr. remains on schedule to be ready for spring training. The unexpected news is that right field may be in his future for the Cincinnati Reds.

Griffey and manager Jerry Narron have talked about the possibility of Griffey switching to right field and Griffey is open-minded about the possibility.

“Griffey is very open to doing what he can do to be on the field more,” Narron said. “He realizes that Kirby Puckett moved (to right field) and that Cal Ripken, Jr. moved to third base.

“He wants to do what is best for the Cincinnati Reds,” Narron added. “He realizes that to be on the field more he has to change positions.”

Before moving, Griffey wants to be certain somebody better can play center field, the position Griffey has played since signing his first major-league contract in 1987.

Griffey’s defense in center had been slipping from above average to average to adequate to yecch in recent years. The move makes good sense. Thirty-one year old Ryan Freel and twenty-seven year old Chris Denorfia can fill the position with slightly above average defense and offense. In a defense first position, like centerfield that is an acceptable tradeoff.

Take a look at a prossible Reds starting lineup.
CF-Rayn Freel
1B-Scott Hatteberg
3B-Edwin Encarnacion
RF-Ken Griffey Jr.
LF-Adam Dunn
2B-Brandon Philips
C-Dave Ross
SS-Alex Gonzalez

Gonzalez is a hole in the eight spot. But the top of the order has good table setters and the heart of the order can mash the ball. That’s a recipe for scoring runs. The Reds didn’t do enough of that last year. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo anchor a mediocre staff and the bullpen is relying on the aging Mike Stanton to nail down games. They have holes in Cincy, but they’ll plate runs. With as many pitching poor teams, especially in the NL Central, they’ll be in plenty of games and may even surprise folks by getting off to a hot start. But unless they add a solid starter and no, Kyle Lohse is not that guy, they are gonna be watching the postseason from their sofas. Homer Bailey might be that guy. Maybe the Reds will get lucky bringing up a 21 year old kid. Or they might get Mark Prior, flashes of brilliance and arm trouble galore.

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