Larkin, a 19-year veteran and 12-time all-star, is in the final year of his contract, and the Reds have declined discussing an extension until after the season.
And if it is indeed his last game in Cincinnati, Larkin is not going quietly.
After homering in his first start in two weeks in Friday’s 5-1 win, Larkin got a pinch-hit single and another numbing ovation in Saturday’s 3-1 loss. The crowd of 26,128 rose to its feet when the 40-year-old shortstop came to the plate in the eighth. While a chant of “Barry! Barry!” rang through the ballpark, he singled through the hole at shortstop, then raised his arm to salute the crowd as he left for a pinch-runner.
Just like in the series opener, Larkin was overwhelmed by the reception.
“It’s just that it’s so unbelievable,” said Larkin, who will start in this game. “You’re humbled by it. You’re almost like numb. I think it’s a form of communication. They’re saying, ‘We’re not ready for him not to be here.”’
Larkin, who said he wants to play one more season, hasn’t given many clues on to what his future might be. He said he’d be willing to move to third for the Reds, but he’d also willing to leave the team to stay at shortstop. Relegated to the bench over the last two weeks as Cincinnati has started younger infielders, Larkin is hitting .290 this season with eight homers and 44 RBIs.
Although the Reds have won eight of 11, they are finishing with their fourth straight losing season—their longest such streak since the 1950s.
“I’m never happy to see baseball end, but it’s been a long year,” Reds manager Dave Miley said.
The Pirates are wrapping up another disappointing season with a swoon—only three wins in their last 11 games. They need to win to avoid their fourth 90-loss season in the last seven years.
On Saturday, Pittsburgh right-hander Josh Fogg allowed three hits in six innings, including a triple and a homer by Darren Bragg. Fogg and left-hander Oliver Perez, who will start on Sunday, are tied for the club lead in wins.