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Notes: Griffey's status uncertain

Notes: Griffey's status uncertain

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Between Josh Hamilton's hot spring and Ken Griffey Jr. not getting into any games, a couple of wrenches have been thrown into the position battles for the Reds -- especially outfield spots.

The decisions for manager Jerry Narron and general manager Wayne Krivsky could become even tougher.

"A lot is going to depend on if Griff can play," Narron said Wednesday afternoon. "There are still one or two spots available. It's still open."

For the first time this spring, Narron appeared concerned about Griffey's readiness to open the regular season with the club. The 37-year-old Griffey has been rehabilitating from a broken left hand he suffered in December and has not played in any exhibition games.

"If it's March 14 and a guy hasn't been able to play yet," Narron said, "at some point, you've got to have some Spring Training. Hopefully, he'll be well enough to play here in a couple of days."

Griffey has taken batting practice for the past couple of weeks and also hit in a couple of simulated games against pitcher Kyle Lohse. But he's also reported soreness after many of those sessions. On Wednesday in the cage, he appeared to be swinging at full speed during BP.

When asked how his hand was feeling, Griffey would not offer a timetable for when he might get into games.

"When I'm 100 percent, I'll play -- not before that," Griffey said.

Meanwhile, Hamilton has gone from a long shot to having an excellent chance of making the 25-man roster. Hamilton, the Rule 5 player who was 1-for-3 Wednesday against the Devil Rays, is batting a team-leading .548 in 11 games this spring.

If Griffey is ready in time for Opening Day, Hamilton's success could leave fellow reserve outfield candidates Bubba Crosby, Norris Hopper and Chris Denorfia on the outside looking in.

Crosby got a start in right field Wednesday and went 0-for-3, but he has come into most of the games off the bench.

"I'm playing every day. I feel like I'm getting an opportunity," said Crosby, who is batting .296 in 14 games.

Hopper and Denorfia are right-handed, but, like Hamilton, Crosby is a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield spots. With Griffey and left fielder Adam Dunn also left-handed, it's unlikely the club would carry four lefty-hitting outfielders.

When Crosby signed with the club as a free agent in November, the Reds had not yet decided to take a chance on Hamilton.

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"It definitely makes things more complicated," Crosby said. "I can't control that. I had quite a few offers this offseason, and every offer I had was a situation where I'd have to compete for a job. My biggest goal is to show my versatility and what I can do to help benefit this club. If I can do that -- I feel like I'm doing that -- that's all I can control. I can't really control when they're in the back meetings trying to put lineups together and things like that. Yeah, I'd like to think my name would be in those. That's pretty much up to them."

Unlike Hopper and Denorfia, Crosby has no Minor League options remaining. If the club doesn't feel he'll make it, Crosby hoped it won't prolong that decision for too long.

"If they try to shoot me through the waivers the last days of camp, it's obvious I'd clear because most team's rosters would be full," Crosby said. "But I hope they, at least for my benefit, give me an opportunity to make another club."

Feeling and pitching well: In a strong showing Wednesday against Tampa Bay, Bronson Arroyo worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits without a walk and striking out two. Arroyo needed to use only 60 pitches.

Earlier in camp, Arroyo was sick with the flu and threw just two innings in his previous start. He needed two IV treatments to get his fluids restored when he was sick.

"I felt normal for the last two days. It felt good," Arroyo said. "It was nice to get some good work in. Even though it was easy, I only went two innings last time, so five this time was more pounding on my body -- which is nice."

Union meeting: The Major League Baseball Players Association continued its annual Spring Training tour with a visit to the Reds clubhouse. In a meeting that lasted about two hours, union executive director Don Fehr briefed players and answered questions.

"With the agreement done, most of the things we had to say were good things," Fehr said.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified in the fall, the second straight time a CBA deal was reached without any kind of a work stoppage.

"The one [in 2002], we went right to the edge before a strike," Fehr said. "This last one was months ahead and there never were any threats from either side. This is really different. It's the first time it's ever happened. The last time we got it done before going into the season was 1970. And my recollection was that was in February. I wasn't there then."

Injury report: Pitcher Kyle Lohse (strained right hamstring) threw in his usual side bullpen session Wednesday and reported feeling good. Lohse, who already has thrown two simulated games, could return Saturday to take his turn in the rotation when the Reds play the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.

Ryan Freel (sore right hamstring) was kept out another day as a precaution on Wednesday. Freel hasn't played since coming out of Monday's game.

Reliever Dustin Hermanson, who was slated to work an inning Wednesday, was sent home with a case of the flu. Injured infielder Jeff Keppinger also was sick.

Coming up: The Reds have a pair of day-night split-squad games against the Pirates. In the 1:05 p.m. ET matinee at Bradenton, Fla., Kirk Saarloos will start for Cincinnati against Paul Maholm. The two teams will meet in Sarasota, Fla., at 7:05 p.m., with the Reds starting Bobby Livingston against Shawn Chacon.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["spring_training" ] }
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