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AROUND THE MAJORS

Griffey Is Ruled Out of Reds' Opener

April 02, 2001|Associated Press

Ken Griffey Jr.'s pulled hamstring will keep him out of the Cincinnati Reds' opening-day lineup.

The hamstring injury that Griffey sustained a week ago prevented him from running hard during a workout Sunday and prompted Manager Bob Boone to drop his name from the starting lineup.

Griffey will be available to pinch-hit during today's game against the Atlanta Braves. He agreed that it was better to get the hamstring healed rather than risk aggravating it on a cool afternoon.

"If it's going to mean me missing a couple of games, I'd rather do it now than have it like last year," said Griffey, who was bothered by his hamstring much of last season. "I'd rather take care of the problem now."

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Brian Cole, among the top prospects in the New York Met farm system, died when he was ejected from his vehicle after it crashed in Sneads, Fla.

Cole, 22, was not wearing a seat belt when his Ford Explorer overturned as he drove home Saturday from spring training in Port St. Lucie to Meridian, Miss.

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Bobby Higginson, who seemed to be well on his way to free agency this year, agreed on a four-year contract extension with the Detroit Tigers worth about $35 million.

Higginson, 30, would have been eligible for free agency after the season.

He will earn $5.3 million this year. The extension runs through 2005 and includes a no-trade clause that covers this year and runs through the 2003 season.

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Atlanta Brave pitcher John Smoltz had another setback in his comeback from elbow surgery, leaving a minor league exhibition game after two innings because of pain. The right-hander, who missed all of last season after ligament replacement surgery in the right elbow, will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. . . . Nomar Garciaparra was put on the 15-day disabled list by the Boston Red Sox because of a wrist injury. The move is retroactive to March 22, but the three-time all-star is likely to have surgery and miss 10-16 weeks. . . . Chicago Cub closer Tom Gordon, who missed last season after ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow, will start the season on the disabled list because of a strained arm muscle. Gordon was put on the 15-day disabled list, a move retroactive to March 22.

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Darryl Strawberry could end up in jail if and when he surfaces from his latest break from house arrest, authorities said. Pam Bondi, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office, said prosecutors will push to have Strawberry sent to prison, saying the multiple chances he has had for freedom on the outside have not worked.

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