Ken Griffey Jr. was having one of his best seasons in years, until yet another injury landed him on the disabled list.
Griffey may make his return to the lineup when the slumping Reds open a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants.
Griffey was batting .251 with 20 homers and 60 RBIs before partially tearing his right hamstring on July 10. He had appeared in 80 games before suffering the injury, his most games in a season since 2001.
“I feel a little better,” said Griffey, who hit his 500th career homer earlier in the season. “It’s starting to feel more natural and I’m getting somewhat comfortable with running. I couldn’t really run the bases or go out and get fly balls the last three days. I could run on the track, but it’s not like running on uneven surfaces.”
Griffey will travel with the team and will be re-evaluated before Tuesday’s game.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. “We’ll go out there Tuesday, we’ve got an early flight and all that, so we’ll go out and see how it feels. We want to be on the safe side more than anything.”
The Reds will be glad to get Griffey back in their lineup. He batted .346 (9-for-26) in eight games in July, and Cincinnati is just 5-12 in his absence.
“Staying around here, you get tired of looking at everybody and they get tired of looking at you,” he said. “So getting back, it’s exciting. It gets the adrenaline going again. It’s important to feel like you’re part of a team again.”
The Giants lost 6-1 to St. Louis on Sunday, and have dropped six of eight. Ray Durham knocked in the only run for San Francisco, which has scored just one run over its last 17 innings.