Griffey will return to right field
After six games at DH, veteran will use glove in Cleveland
TORONTO -- Six games of being the designated hitter have appeared to put some spring in Ken Griffey Jr.'s step and more pop in his bat.Griffey has been the DH for all six games of the ongoing nine-game road trip at American League ballparks. He has hit home runs in two of the last three games, including a two-run shot in Wednesday's 6-5 win. Another ball went to the warning track in center field.
Reds manager Dusty Baker plans to return Griffey to right field for the first two games at Cleveland on Friday and Saturday. Left fielder Adam Dunn likely will be the designated hitter on Friday and Saturday, then Griffey will do it again on Sunday.Even though Griffey generally prefers not to DH, not playing his regular right field lately has kept the 38-year-old's legs fresher, and it's shown at the plate. "Big time," Baker said Thursday. "When you get older, it's defense that will pound you, not offense. Offensively, how often are you really running? Hopefully this will keep him fresh through to the All-Star break." In the previous five games, Griffey was 5-for-19 (.263) with two homers and four RBIs. Before the trip, he missed three straight starts with a stomach virus. Overall this season, Griffey entered Thursday batting .245 in 73 games with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. His 602 career homers are good for sixth on the all-time list.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.