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Uh-oh: Griffey strains right calf

Wire services
Published March 30, 2004

SARASOTA - Ken Griffey has another injury. This one doesn't appear to be too serious.

The Cincinnati Reds outfielder strained his right calf while running out a grounder in his first at-bat Monday night, and left the game an inning later as a precaution.

"At this point in spring training with the beginning of the season so close, we don't want to take any chances," trainer Mark Mann said. "We got him out of there."

In each of the past three years, Griffey suffered a major injury near the start of the season. Last year, he dislocated his shoulder in the fifth game of the season, returned and tore a tendon in his right ankle. He had surgery for both injuries.

Griffey, 34, hasn't been hurt this spring, running easily on his surgically repaired ankle. He has struggled at the plate, batting .158.

He slipped on the soft dirt around home plate as he took his first step out of the batters' box in the first inning of a 6-2 victory over Pittsburgh. He continued hard down the line, slowing after he realized he was going to be out.

Mann saw Griffey slip, but the outfielder didn't mention any problem. He played center for one inning, came to the bench and talked to the trainer.

"He told me that he did it and there was some soreness," Mann said.

Griffey jogged toward the clubhouse to get treatment.

"That's obviously very encouraging," Mann said. "(Today) we'll have a better indication of the severity of this."

Griffey, who had left when the clubhouse opened to reporters, was given a walking boot for the night. He most likely will miss some playing time in the final week of spring training.

Ticket prices up 4 percent

Baseball's average ticket price increased by nearly 4 percent this year, and the Red Sox charge the most for the seventh straight season.

The average price of a major-league ticket is $19.82, the Chicago-based Team Marketing Report said. That's up 3.9 percent from last year's revised average of $19.08.

Among the major sports, the NFL has the highest average ticket price of $50.02, according to TMI, followed by the NBA at $43.65 and the NHL at $41.56.

Boston, which plays in the smallest ballpark in the majors, has the highest baseball average at $40.77. That translates to an average 5.7 percent increase at Fenway Park, which holds about 34,000. About 200 seats are being added on the rightfield roof, one year after seats were built atop the Green Monster in left.

The Cubs were second at $28.45, followed by Philadelphia at $26.08 and the Yankees at $24.86.

But while TMI said the Yankees had no change in their prices from last year, the team itself said in December that 31,00 seats had price increases and about 24,700 will remain the same.

TMI's Becky Vallett said the survey was based on figures provided by teams.

Philadelphia and San Diego, which open new ballparks, had the biggest increases. With the move to Citizens Bank Park from Veterans Stadium, the Phillies' average increased 51.3 percent. The Padres are going from Qualcomm Stadium to PETCO Park and have increased their average 31.9 percent to $21.41.

The Cubs, Houston, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Minnesota and Kansas City also increased prices by 10 percent or more.

Montreal has the lowest average at $10.82 U.S.

Cardinals, Padres swap outfielders

ST. LOUIS - The Cardinals traded Kerry Robinson to San Diego for Brian Hunter in a swap of speedy outfielders Monday.

Robinson had been competing for the starting job in leftfield with Ray Lankford and others in the spring. Lankford has been impressive after a year away from baseball.

"We didn't see a spot for Kerry on our final roster," general manager Walt Jocketty said.

Robinson has a career average of .263 in 365 games in three seasons with the Cardinals.

Hunter is a career .264 hitter in more than 10 seasons with Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Colorado, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

ANGELS: Left-handed reliever Yoshitaka Mizuo agreed to a one-year contract after pitching in Japan for the past 12 years. Financial terms were not announced. The 35-year-old pitched for the Seibu Lions the last three years, but appeared in only two games last season.

RANGERS: Pitcher Brian Shouse has an inflamed rotator cuff and will start the season on the 15-day disabled list. The left-hander pitched in 62 games last season, posting an 0-1 record with 10 holds, one save and a 3.10 ERA. Meanwhile, rightfielder Brian Jordan said he wouldn't play before at least Wednesday because of a sore left knee.

PIRATES: Left-handed reliever Mark Guthrie and utilityman Orlando Merced were released, a signal the team is speeding up its youth movement and going with prospects rather than veterans.

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