Notes: Griffey's status uncertain
Rule 5 player Hamilton making most of opportunity
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Between Josh Hamilton's hot spring and Ken Griffey Jr. not getting into any games, a couple of wrenches have been thrown into the position battles for the Reds -- especially outfield spots.The decisions for manager Jerry Narron and general manager Wayne Krivsky could become even tougher. "A lot is going to depend on if Griff can play," Narron said Wednesday afternoon. "There are still one or two spots available. It's still open." For the first time this spring, Narron appeared concerned about Griffey's readiness to open the regular season with the club. The 37-year-old Griffey has been rehabilitating from a broken left hand he suffered in December and has not played in any exhibition games. "If it's March 14 and a guy hasn't been able to play yet," Narron said, "at some point, you've got to have some Spring Training. Hopefully, he'll be well enough to play here in a couple of days." Griffey has taken batting practice for the past couple of weeks and also hit in a couple of simulated games against pitcher Kyle Lohse. But he's also reported soreness after many of those sessions. On Wednesday in the cage, he appeared to be swinging at full speed during BP. When asked how his hand was feeling, Griffey would not offer a timetable for when he might get into games. "When I'm 100 percent, I'll play -- not before that," Griffey said. Meanwhile, Hamilton has gone from a long shot to having an excellent chance of making the 25-man roster. Hamilton, the Rule 5 player who was 1-for-3 Wednesday against the Devil Rays, is batting a team-leading .548 in 11 games this spring. If Griffey is ready in time for Opening Day, Hamilton's success could leave fellow reserve outfield candidates Bubba Crosby, Norris Hopper and Chris Denorfia on the outside looking in. Crosby got a start in right field Wednesday and went 0-for-3, but he has come into most of the games off the bench. "I'm playing every day. I feel like I'm getting an opportunity," said Crosby, who is batting .296 in 14 games. Hopper and Denorfia are right-handed, but, like Hamilton, Crosby is a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield spots. With Griffey and left fielder Adam Dunn also left-handed, it's unlikely the club would carry four lefty-hitting outfielders. When Crosby signed with the club as a free agent in November, the Reds had not yet decided to take a chance on Hamilton.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.