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Notes: Larkin might not retire
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07/06/2004  8:24 PM ET
Notes: Larkin might not retire
Reds captain will make decision after season
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Barry Larkin asked the Reds not to honor him on Oct. 2, just in case he plays next year. (David Kohl/AP)
ST. LOUIS -- Hold off on the proclamations, golf vacations and assorted celebrations. Reds shortstop Barry Larkin has decided to cancel his retirement party. Well, at least the one that had been tentatively scheduled for Great American Ball Park on Oct. 2.

It's not that Larkin's 19th season won't be his last, as he indicated during Spring Training. It's just that he isn't sure it will be -- and he doesn't want a lot of fuss until he and his family have sat down after the season.

"I don't want people to go out and do a lot of nice things and then I think, 'I'm not ready to retire,'" said the 40-year-old Reds captain, who has played his entire Major League career in his hometown. "I just want to make sure I'm done. I'm not saying one way or another that I'll continue. I just don't want to get into the situation where I go out and play to the end of the season and they've made all these arrangements for me and then I turn around and say, 'Thanks for all your hard work, but ...'

"I've been thinking about it for some time, talking to my agent and my family. At the end of the year, my family and I will sit down, get away from it a little and ponder a bit."

Reds chief operating officer John Allen said, "Barry has made it known to us that, at this time, he is not committed to retiring after this season and feels any kind of ceremony would be inappropriate. We respect his decision."

Larkin said that one of the factors that go into his eventual decision will be "how the season goes ... if we're buyers or sellers [at the July 31 trade deadline. Who knows? I may be part of that process as well. We'll just have to see how things work out.

"Things have been enjoyable. Everything's fine. No big revelation. I'm just voicing what I've been thinking."

   Barry Larkin  /   SS
Born: 04/28/64
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

In 65 games this season, Larkin is hitting .295 (his career batting average) with 40 runs, four homers (six short of 200 for his career) and 31 RBIs (leaving him 43 short of 1,000). It earned him a spot on this year's All-Star team courtesy of former Reds manager Jack McKeon -- with whom Larkin didn't always see eye-to-eye. It's the 12th All-Star Game for Larkin, just behind Johnny Bench (14) and Pete Rose (13) for the most in club history.

His teammates were vocal in their opinion about what Larkin should do.

"Whatever that man wants to do is fine with me," said Reds center fielder Ken Griffey, who is headed to his 13th All-Star Game. "He's in great shape, plus he has a lot to offer the young players on this team."

Adam Dunn said, "He's just covering his bases, and in the end he'll do what's best for him and his family ... but I'm selfish. He's one of my good friends, and I want him around. It's obvious he's playing at an All-Star level."

Ryan Freel, another of the young Reds counted on for this franchise's return to competitive status said, "He's putting up great numbers, we win when he's in the lineup, and you can't ask for a better leader. I've been telling him he's still got five more years in him ... and we have to have him in this lineup and we have to have him on this team."

Remember the number: To Danny Graves' way of thinking, the streak of 84 consecutive saves by Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne that ended last night ranks with DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak -- and he thinks it will eventually have more staying power.

"I saw it in the paper, and I still didn't believe it happened," said Graves, who leads the Majors with 31 saves for the Reds -- but has blown seven save attempts as well. "That record will never be broken. Never.

"I think my longest streak is about 10 saves, and frankly I don't think about it. You can't think about it," said Graves, who returned to the closer role after spending much of last year as a starter.

As for Gagne's success, Graves said it was simple.

"That's the best stuff I've ever seen. It's not fair how good it is."

Matthews has surgery: Left-handed reliever Mike Matthews underwent successful surgery to remove three bone fragments from his left elbow, team officials said.

The one-hour arthroscopic procedure was performed Tuesday morning in Cincinnati by team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. Matthews (22 games, 2-1, 8.84 ERA) was placed on the DL last Saturday. Doctors hope he can start throwing in 2-3 weeks.

Reasons for hope: With his bullpen racking up an ERA over 8.00 in the past 10 games, Reds manager Dave Miley was encouraged by the two-inning shutout effort by Ryan Wagner, who replaced starter Cory Lidle in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Cardinals.

"That was one of the real positives of the day," said Miley of Wagner, who had been demoted to Triple-A Louisville on May 30 and recalled Sunday. "He was on top of his pitches and showed the command he needed to regain."

Wagner, who allowed 37 baserunners in 14 2/3 innings before being sent down, said, "I got in some work and got confidence in my stuff again. That's what we need to do."

Miley has also been encouraged by the work turned in by Gabe White, who has a 1.17 ERA in 7 2/3 innings, retiring 23 of the 27 batters he's faced since being re-acquired from the Yankees on June 18 for a minor leaguer and a player to be named later.

"He's been strong," Miley said of the veteran, in his third stint with Cincinnati.

Pete Wickham is a contributor for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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