Griffey's left hand will be in cast for three weeks

CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. couldn't avoid injury in the offseason.

The Cincinnati Reds' center fielder broke his left hand in an accident at home, the latest in a series of setbacks since he joined his hometown team for the 2000 season.

Griffey will have the hand in a hard cast for three weeks, then be re-examined, the team announced Friday.

The club wasn't authorized by Griffey to give any details of how he was hurt. But the Dayton Daily News reported that Griffey broke the hand while playing with his children, citing two sources familiar with the situation.

General manager Wayne Krivsky wasn't sure whether Griffey will be ready for the start of spring training. The club will have a better idea when the hand is examined again in three weeks.

"It's just too early to tell," Krivsky said.

Griffey, who turned 37 last month, missed nearly a month early last season because of inflammation behind his right knee, and sat out 22 of the last 24 games after dislocating a toe.

The two injuries were par for the course for Griffey, who has been on the disabled list eight times since the Reds got him from Seattle in a trade before the 2000 season.

Asked if Griffey's injury would affect his offseason roster moves, Krivsky said, "It's not like we've got a game tomorrow. We're worried about getting him healed and going from there."

Griffey's health problems started shortly after he landed in Cincinnati.

He hit .271 with 40 homers and 118 RBI in 145 games during the 2000 season, his first with the Reds. He had a sore hamstring during the season, but played through the pain and avoided the disabled list.

He went on the disabled list in 2001 after tearing a hamstring, starting his run of major injuries. He was on the disabled list twice in 2002 (torn knee tendon and hamstring), twice in 2003 (dislocated shoulder and torn ankle tendon) and twice in 2004 (two hamstring tears).

For three years in a row, he didn't play in more than 83 games in a season. He finally avoided major injury during the 2005 season, when he hit .301 with 35 homers in 128 games -- his second-highest total with Cincinnati.

The performance won him the NL comeback player of the year award. He showed up for spring training healthy this year, and was impressive during the World Baseball Classic, hitting .524 with three homers.

But he hurt his knee while catching a fly ball during batting practice at Wrigley Field last April, prompting him to go on the disabled list for the eighth time since he rejoined the Reds. When he returned a month later, the resumed his climb up baseball's homer and RBI lists.

Overall, the 12-time All-Star hit .252 with 27 homers and 72 RBI in 109 games, his fourth-highest total with the Reds. He has two years left on his contract.

Griffey finished the season with 563 homers, tying Reggie Jackson for 10th. His 1,608 RBI rank 22nd on the career list, which goes back to 1920, when it became an official statistic.

When he came home to Cincinnati in February 2000, he was on pace to break Hank Aaron's home run record of 755; Griffey had been the youngest player to reach the 350-homer mark. All the injuries have likely cost him a chance to catch Aaron.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.