Freel still hoping to play this season

Freel still hoping to play this season

CINCINNATI -- Ryan Freel isn't ready yet to call his 2008 season a wrap.

Maybe that's what almost everybody else is saying he should do. After all, Freel has been on the disabled list since June 4, and he's since had surgery on his right hamstring, which did seem to signal that his season was done.

But Freel holds out hope.

"The next couple weeks are kind of crucial, I guess, in determining whether I'll be coming back," he said Monday. "But I feel real good."

In his rehab, he said the one problem he's having is getting the hamstring strong. That's what he's been working hard on -- getting his muscles stronger.

Freel, who was hitting .298 with six steals when he went down, has also been working on the mental side of rehabbing an injury. That might be harder to shake than the physical side of being hurt.

Harder still, he said, is watching from the disabled list as the Reds have struggled and knowing he's not been able to help them.

"That's pretty much my same speech ever since I've been getting hurt," he said, smiling. "So, it hadn't changed."

Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.