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Kearns out indefinitely with broken arm

4/27/2004

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Cincinnati Reds must have known this was
too good to last. Off to an unexpectedly good start, they must deal
with yet another injury to their star-crossed outfield.

Sean Casey's two-run homer backed Aaron Harang's effective
pitching, and the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Monday night
despite losing Austin Kearns indefinitely with a broken forearm.

Kearns, the right fielder, was hit on the left arm and wrist by
Ryan Vogelsong's pitch two batters after Casey's homer put
Cincinnati up 2-0 in the first. Kearns played defense in the first,
but was lifted an inning later.

"I knew something was wrong," Kearns said after the Reds
improved to 12-7. "Usually you can shake it off running to first,
but it felt right off the bat like it was different from every
other time I've been hit."

Kearns will return to Cincinnati on Tuesday to be examined by
team doctors following his second significant injury in two
seasons. He injured his right shoulder in May and missed about half
the 2003 season.

"It just seems like it can't get much worse right now, with the
start I got off to," said Kearns, whose 2-for-23 slump has lowered
his average to .137.

The injury comes only three weeks after the Reds finally
reunited their everyday outfield of Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. and
Kearns, which appeared in just 21 games together last season.

"It's just so unfortunate, and must be so frustrating for
him," Casey said. "It's just bad luck. I could feel the
frustration when I came up here (to the clubhouse) in the sixth
inning and found out it was broken."

Kearns said the best-case scenario for his return is three to
four weeks.

Harang (2-0) gave up two runs in six innings, including Craig
Wilson's solo homer in the sixth, but worked out of several jams to
beat Pittsburgh for the second time in two starts. He gave up seven
hits, struck out five and walked one.

Danny Graves pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12
opportunities and his third in the four-game series. John Riedling
and Todd Jones preceded Graves with a scoreless inning each.

Ryan Freel, Kearns' replacement, followed Casey's walk with an
RBI triple in the third. Freel had started every Reds game this
season until being hit in the head by Jason Boyd's pitch Saturday
night, forcing him to sit out Sunday. He returned to a utility role
Monday when third baseman Brandon Larson was activated from the
disabled list.

Now, Freel is likely to get a lot of playing time until Kearns
returns.

The Pirates, 2-5 against the Reds, loaded the bases with two
outs in the third, but Harang got Rob Mackowiak to fly out. They
had two on with one out an inning later, but pinch-hitter Bobby
Hill struck out and Tike Redman grounded into a force play.

Vogelsong (1-3) walked six in four innings while losing his
third in a row, giving up three runs and four hits. He has allowed
23 hits and 18 runs in 12 innings during his losing streak, which
includes two losses to the Cubs in which he believes he tipped his
pitches.

"I'm tired of being average, of pitching below average," said
Vogelsong, who has a 9.00 ERA. "My stuff is too good right now to
get hit hard like that. This is my fourth start, and I feel I've
had great stuff three times, and that's what's frustrating."

After Vogelsong left, Dunn took advantage of second baseman Jose
Castillo's throwing error on a grounder by Casey -- hitting a
two-run double in the seventh. Castillo ranged far to his left to
make a diving stop, only to make a wild throw.

Pittsburgh scored in the fifth on Jack Wilson's triple and Jason
Kendall's RBI groundout. Jack Wilson matched a career high with
four hits in his 10th multiple-hit game this season, raising his
average to .397.

Game notes
The Reds took three of four in the series and are 4-0-2 in
their first six series. ... The crowd of 8,579 was the Pirates'
second smallest at home since PNC Park opened in 2001. They drew
8,565 against Cincinnati on Sept. 15. ... The Pirates are 1-5
during a nine-game homestand that ends with a three-game series
against the Astros. ... Harang also beat the Pirates 5-1 on April
9, allowing one run in six innings. He is 3-0 against them the last
two seasons, half of the six victories he has with Cincinnati. ...
Casey is 15-for-29 with three homers and nine RBI during a
six-game hitting streak. He is from Pittsburgh and his parents were
in the stands.