Reds doing Griffey damage controlPosted: Saturday February 22, 2003 6:14 PM
Updated: Saturday February 22, 2003 9:50 PM
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- Ken Griffey Jr. is an unhappy camper.
The moody outfielder didn't want to talk to the media about his offseason workouts or an offseason trade when he reported with the rest of the Cincinnati Reds position players.
He was subdued during workouts, and had no reaction when general manager Jim Bowden took him aside for a brief talk between fields at the team's spring training complex.
Asked if he's happy that he's still with Cincinnati, Griffey said, "What does it matter? This game is not about being happy. It's about wins and losses."
It's also about his relationship with his hometown team.
Griffey's father, Ken Sr., hinted that Junior was stung by Bowden's remark earlier in the week to a reporter from The Seattle Times. Bowden said the trade that brought Griffey to the Reds in February 2000 "has flopped" because the outfielder has been hurt so much.
"I know when you hear that stuff as a player, it doesn't feel good," said Griffey Sr., a Reds special consultant. "I'm not talking as a father. I'm talking as a player and a coach. You never like it when that stuff is written."
Bowden took Junior aside during workouts Thursday and spoke to him for nearly 10 minutes. Bowden was animated, waving his arms, but Griffey listened without much reaction.
Neither one would discuss it afterward. Asked about Bowden's statement about the trade being a flop, Griffey said, "I'd rather not talk about it."
When Bowden got Griffey from Seattle, he crowed about the move and declared that "baseball is back in Cincinnati." His first three seasons under a nine-year, $116.5 million contract have been full of injuries.
Griffey hurt his hamstring in 2000, tore it in spring training 2001, and tore a tendon in his knee during the first week of the 2002 season. The injuries have limited Griffey to 70 homers in three seasons with his hometown team.
Although Bowden has insisted all along the trade will eventually pay off, he tried to trade Griffey in the offseason. Phil Nevin invoked a no-trade clause and blocked a deal with San Diego.
Griffey wasn't told of the trade until after Nevin blocked it. He has declined to discuss it since showing up for spring training.
Bowden reiterated that the trade hasn't worked out because of Griffey's injuries.
"Junior's been hurt," Bowden said. "It's not his fault. So far, the trade hasn't worked. Everyone in America knows that. But it's not Junior's fault he's been hurt. It's not the Reds' fault he's been hurt."
Griffey spent the offseason working out with a personal trainer to strengthen his legs. Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said Griffey made a lot of improvement.
"He is looking good," Kremchek said. "He came in as touted. He has lost body fat, gained muscle and is flexible and strong."
Bowden thinks the trade could still work out for Cincinnati.
"I believe over the next three years, Junior's going to be healthy and put up great numbers," Bowden said. "Everyone will say it's a great trade again. I'd make the deal 10 times over again."