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Reds remember former teammate

Reds remember former teammate

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PITTSBURGH -- With the tragic news Sunday that Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was killed in an automobile crash, Reds players reacted to the death of their former teammate.

Hancock, 29, played for the Reds from 2004-05.

"It's one of those reality checks that you never know when your time is," pitcher Matt Belisle said. "I'm just kind of stunned. Whenever you hear something like that, especially first thing in the morning, it kind of stuns you for a little bit."

Hancock was 6-1 in 23 games with the Reds. Although only 10 players remain on the team from 2005, Hancock was remembered fondly.

"It was two years ago that he was in our clubhouse, but it doesn't seem like it," said Belisle, who spent a lot of time in the bullpen with Hancock. "It's just kind of a disgust, kind of a little turn in your gut."

Before arriving in Pittsburgh on Friday, the Reds played three games in St. Louis. Some Cincinnati players met up with Hancock.

"Very shocking," Reds reliever Todd Coffey said. "It's very hard to put into words. We just saw him, you know? It's tragic."

Reds closer David Weathers, his wife and children had a half-hour conversation with Hancock while they were in St. Louis last week when they saw each other at a mall.

"You can't get it out of your mind," Weathers said. "Every time I see his picture up there, it's like it's not even real. It's so similar to Darryl Kile. I mean, the same teams were playing and all that. It's tough.

"When I found out this morning, it was just, 'Man, 29 years old,' " Weathers said. "The kid's got his whole life ahead of him, and for this to happen. ... My heart just goes out for the family."

While Belisle said he had heard of Hancock's passing early Sunday morning, official word was not released to the public until after 11 a.m. ET. As ESPN interrupted its NFL Draft coverage with a report on Hancock's death, Reds players went silent. The team had just gotten ready to take the field for warmups, but the players stopped what they were doing and watched to the clubhouse televisions.

After a 9-5 win over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, Reds players were silent in the clubhouse as they watched the Cardinals' press conference on television.

"We had just seen him," Belisle said, shaking his head. "A bad day."

On July 30, 2004, Hancock was acquired along with shortstop Andy Machado from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade for veteran reliever Todd Jones and Minor Leaguer Brad Correll.

Josh Hancock, 1978-2007
The trade came after a Cincinnati game against Houston was suspended at 10:42 p.m. ET. Hancock made it to Cincinnati the next day in time to pitch in the 11:30 a.m. ET completion of the game. In that 3-2 victory, he threw a scoreless 13th inning for his first Major League win. Hancock did not even get a chance to meet then-Reds manager Dave Miley for the first time until he returned to the dugout following that inning.

Hancock went 5-1 with a 4.45 ERA down the stretch in 2004 for the Reds. In 2005, he was hindered by injury and appeared in only 11 games, all after Sept. 1.

Despite being bothered by a strained right groin during 2005 Spring Training, Hancock posted an 0.93 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances before beginning the season on the disabled list. He had two separate rehabilitation stints with Triple-A Louisville, re-aggravating the injury once and sustaining a right elbow injury during another.

On Sept. 2, Hancock made his Reds season debut. He went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in '05. The Reds cut Hancock on the first day of Spring Training in 2006, because the club said he had reported 17 pounds overweight.

Born in Cleveland, Miss., Hancock was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1996 but did not sign, choosing to attend Auburn University. He was drafted again in 1998, this time in the fifth round by Boston. He signed and made his Major League debut with the Red Sox four years later.

After the 2002 season, Hancock was traded to the Phillies for Jeremy Giambi. For his career, Hancock was 9-7 with a 4.20 ERA in 102 games (12 starts). He won a World Series ring with the Cardinals last season.

Chris Adamski is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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