White glad to be back in Cincinnati

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 19, 2004

ST. LOUIS - Gabe White is thrilled to leave the American League behind for his third stint with the Cincinnati Reds.

The left-hander thought he was underutilized with the New York Yankees this season, going 0-1 with an 8.27 ERA in 24 relief appearances.

The Yankees acquired him from Cincinnati for cash at the trade deadline last July, and he was sent back to the Reds on Friday night for minor league pitcher Charlie Manning. The Reds also received a player to be named and cash.

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''It might be hard for someone to understand how you can be excited to leave the best record in baseball and one of the greatest franchises in sports and all that,'' White said Saturday. ''All that was great, but if you're somewhere and you're winning you want to be a part of it.

''If you're not, you want to go somewhere where you can contribute.''

White is no fan of the designated hitter. Lineup changes aren't as plentiful in the American League because of the DH, and he feels that turns some bullpen members into mere spare parts.

''In the National League you need 25 guys and over there, evidently, you don't,'' White said. ''Here, there's a lot more going on and you're forced to make decisions and everybody gets work.

''In parts of 10 or 11 years, all in the National League, I had no idea how different it was.''

White said the Yankees had no particular need for a left-handed specialist because their right-handed relievers can get both lefties and righties out.

''It seemed like I sat for five days every time, at least, and that's impossible to get into any kind of rhythm or do anything successful at all,'' White said. ''When I would get in, it was almost like I was the last line of defense.''

That won't happen with the pitching-needy Reds.

''Everybody that knows me knows I want to be out there all the time,'' White said. ''It just kills me to sit there and sit there.

''And there's always plenty of work in the Reds' bullpen.''

The 32-year-old White previously pitched for the Reds from 1997-2000 and 2002-03. He immediately felt comfortable.

''I walk right in and there's no nervous feelings, no knots in your stomach or anything,'' White said. ''It feels like I was gone for the offseason and now I'm back and here we go.''

He leaves the Yankees with no hard feelings, though. White said manager Joe Torre's door was always open.

''I had some talks with him for lack of work and he had no problem listening,'' White said. ''When I did talk to him I did feel better.

''I think everybody that's played for him or knows him has the utmost respect for him as a manager and a person.''