More bad luck for Larson

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 9, 2004

CINCINNATI - Brandon Larson's bad luck has followed him on a medical rehabilitation assignment.

The Cincinnati Reds' third baseman was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance Thursday, forcing him out of a game for Triple-A Louisville. X-rays found no fracture in his right elbow.

Larson will be evaluated again Friday to see whether the injury will set him back, a Reds spokesman said.

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The first-round draft pick is having an amazing run of bad luck that derailed a promising career. His latest setbacks came in spring training, costing him the starting job at third.

An eye infection sidelined him at the outset of camp, and he developed turf toe and didn't play after March 10. The Reds put him on the disabled list to open the season.

On the day he finally was cleared to work out with Reds minor leaguers in Florida last month, a pitcher hit him on the wrist as he stood in the batters' box. That injury wasn't serious.

He accompanied the team north and was introduced on opening day. He then headed for Richmond, where Louisville opened the season Thursday.

Richmond's Travis Smith hit Larson on the inside of the right elbow.

Larson led Louisiana State to its second straight College World Series title in 1997, winning MVP honors, and was drafted by the Reds in the first round. He was on the fast track to the majors, but was sidetracked by injuries.

Only 18 games into his second season in the minors, he tore up his left knee while sliding into home plate and needed reconstructive surgery. A year later, he bruised the same knee and was forced on the disabled list.

The Texan had one of his proudest moments on Aug. 15, 2002, hitting a homer off Randy Johnson the first time he faced him. Two at-bats later, Johnson hit him with a pitch on the right big toe, breaking it.

Three weeks later, Larson was in the dugout in St. Louis when Todd Walker lined a foul his way. The ball smacked him behind the right ear, and he broke his left hand as he fell to the ground.

Last year, he strained his rib cage during spring training, then lost the starting third base job. He had surgery on his left shoulder in September.