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Reds’ Larkin Hurt Making Catch

July 26, 2000

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Barry Larkin’s topsy-turvy homestand ended with one more setback.

The Cincinnati Reds captain dislocated the pinkie finger on his right hand while making a tumbling catch Wednesday, forcing him out of a 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros.

Larkin popped the finger back into place on the field, then left and got X-rays that found no fracture. He might be able to play Friday.

``Things happened so fast,″ said Larkin, who wasn’t sure exactly what happened.

The shortstop ran into second baseman Pokey Reese as they went for Mitch Meluskey’s soft fly to shallow center field in the fourth inning. Larkin caught the ball and held on as he fell awkwardly to the artificial turf, dislocating the finger.

A similar Astros hit fell for a run-scoring double in the ninth inning of the Reds’ 7-4 loss Tuesday night, and Larkin was running all-out to make sure there wasn’t a repeat with two runners aboard.

``I didn’t hear Pokey calling it but after yesterday, that ball was not going to fall,″ Larkin said.

Moises Alou figured the ball would drop and was running on the play. Larkin tossed the ball to center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., who made a relay to complete a double play at second base.

``The last thing I remember is Pokey and Junior yelling, `Here, here.′ I said, `What?′ He said, `Throw me the ball,′ ″ Larkin said.

Once the double play was completed, Larkin stood up and popped the finger back in place.

``It was painful when it happened, so I figured I would do it right then,″ he said.

Larkin didn’t acknowledge an ovation from the crowd, an indication he was hurt. Instead, he stood and looked at his right hand for a few moments after fixing the finger, then walked off the field slowly accompanied by a trainer.

He headed for the clubhouse and was replaced in the field the next half-inning by Juan Castro.

The last nine days have been an emotional strain for Larkin. The club told him during a road trip last week that it wouldn’t meet his request for a $27.9 million, three-year contract, then arranged a trade to the New York Mets.

Larkin blocked the trade on then was stunned when the Reds offered him a $27 million, three-year extension on Sunday. He got one standing ovation after another during the weekend from fans urging him to stay.

It’s the second time this season that Larkin left a game because of a hand injury. He tore tissue at the base of the middle finger on his left hand while diving for a ground ball on April 21, requiring surgery. That injury kept him out until mid-May.

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