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Cincinnati waives Bere; Avery to have shoulder surgery

CINCINNATI – Jason Bere’s attempt to rejuvenate his career with the Cincinnati Reds ended Wednesday when he was released so he could try to find another team.

Thursday, August 05, 1999

CINCINNATI – Jason Bere’s attempt to rejuvenate his career with the Cincinnati Reds ended Wednesday when he was released so he could try to find another team.

Bere, 28, was struggling at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was trying to come back from a sore elbow that landed him on the disabled list June 16.

The right-hander was relegated to pitching in relief for Indianapolis and felt there would be no opportunity to make it back to the Reds’ rotation. His agent, Tom Tanzer, and Reds general manager Jim Bowden agreed on his unconditional release.

”There’s no hard feelings here,” Tanzer said. ”Jim gave Jason a lot of opportunities and basically he didn’t pitch good and they’ve got to try to win a pennant.”

The Reds claimed Bere off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on July 21 last year, when he was trying to recover from an elbow injury that sidelined him for most of the 1996-97 seasons. He made seven starts for the Reds and was impressive at the end, going 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in his final three starts.

Figuring he was making progress in his recovery, the Reds signed him to a $1.2 million contract for 1999 and counted him in the rotation.

Instead, he had a 6.85 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances. He walked 40 in 43 1-3 innings and opposing batters hit .326 off of him. He lost his spot in the rotation and his elbow became inflamed after he made two appearances out of the bullpen, prompting the move to the disabled list.

The problems continued when he started his rehab assignment. He was 0-2 in four starts and one relief appearance with a 10.19 ERA, walking 19 in 17 2-3 innings.

The Reds recently moved two of their young prospects into the Triple-A rotation, leaving Bere to pitch in relief and setting the stage for his departure.

”I never thought he was healthy (this season) because if Jason was healthy, he would be able to throw more strikes than he has,” Bowden said. ”Jason had made progress last year and regressed. I felt all along he was hurt, but he says he’s not. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Tanzer said Bere will likely pitch at Triple-A for some other club with the hope of getting called up in September. He said the Reds were kind to let him pursue other opportunities.

”They gave him a lot of chances,” Tanzer said. ”It just didn’t work out. The Reds couldn’t have done anything more than they did. They were very accommodating.”

AVERY TO HAVE SURGERY: Left-hander Steve Avery will have surgery Thursday to repair a partial tear in his pitching shoulder.

Dr. James Andrews examined Avery on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala., and concurred that surgery is needed to repair the tear in the tissue on the underside the rotator cuff.

Avery signed with the Reds as a free agent last December and went 6-7 with a 5.16 ERA in 19 starts. His control was a big problem – he walked 78 in 96 innings and got progressively wilder as the season went along.

Soreness in the shoulder prompted him to go on the disabled list July 14. A recent magnetic resonance imaging test found the tear.

Dr. Timothy Kremchek, who will assist with the surgery, said doctors won’t know the extent of the damage until they get inside the shoulder.

”We don’t think it’s anything that will jeopardize him for next year,” Kremchek said.

Avery agreed to a base salary of $500,000 this season with incentives. There’s an option for next season at $3 million that the Reds can buy out for $1 million.

REESE’S HAND STILL SORE: Second baseman Pokey Reese is going to have to hit with some pain for a while.

Reese bruised the side of his left hand when he was hit by a pitch nine days ago. He has been out of the starting lineup for the last seven games because of a bone bruise.

He hit in a batting cage Tuesday and felt some pain afterwards.

”The doctor told me there’s going to be pain for three or four weeks,” Reese said Wednesday. ”I’ve just got to play through it.”

The hand bothers him only when he hits. He tried batting with a pad on the hand to cushion the shock, but didn’t feel comfortable with it.

”I couldn’t feel the bat, so I’m going to go without it,” he said.

Reese got into the Reds’ 6-3 victory Wednesday night as part of a double switch and singled in two at-bats.

BOONE OVER .300: Third baseman Aaron Boone went 7-for-15 in the first four games of the homestand, raising his average above .300 for the first time this season.

A game-winning single in the ninth inning Tuesday night left him at .304. He doesn’t consider himself a .300 hitter.

”I’ve never hit it in pro ball, so I don’t think I can consider myself that,” said Boone, whose career high is .290 at Triple-A in 1997. ”I’m trying to have a consistent approach. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a good hitter in certain situations.

”I feel I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m happy about the learning process that’s taking place for me.”