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Is Griffey getting ready to go home again?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The whispers are starting to get louder. Ken Griffey Jr.'s time in Cincinnati finally appears to be coming to an end.

Of course, Griffey has veto power over any trade, which, depending on who you believe, he has used in the past. But this time it looks as if he knows the writing is on the wall.

As nice a story as it was when he first went back to his hometown of Cincinnati in 2000, the move obviously did not work out as planned. Injuries more than overshadowed his time there. It is time to move on. Salvage whatever is left of his career and go try to win a World Series elsewhere.

New Reds general manager Walt Jocketty wants to start anew, and what better way to do that than deal Griffey. The Reds are loaded with young talent, and this team could be a year or two away from really being a contender. Having Griffey block a roster spot that could be used by one of the top prospects in the game, Jay Bruce, helps nobody.

Aside from all that, though, the biggest reason that this may happen sooner rather than later is the fact that the team that is reportedly the most interested is the same team that selected him with the first overall pick way back in 1987.

Actually, it almost seems inevitable at this point that Griffey is going to be returning to the Seattle Mariners. Honestly though, who else would want him at this point?

The Mariners front office was blown away by the reception Junior received last season in his first time back there since 1999 and apparently the feeling was mutual, as Griffey stated at that time that he would be open to finishing his career there.

It's a nice little story if it all comes to fruition. It might even save John McLaren's job for a little while. Seattle has been one of the biggest disappointments in baseball this season. Having Griffey back would not only fill Safeco Field on a nightly basis, but it would distract people enough from noticing just how bad the Mariners are underachieving.

But remember, sequels rarely live up to their predecessors. The Caddyshack 2's of the world far outweigh the Godfather 2's.

Griffey is 38 and nowhere near the player he was in Seattle. Plus, where is he going to play? If you think he is going to return to center, think again. Ichiro is now the face of the franchise and is light years better than Griffey at that position anyway. Griffey, though, probably wouldn't mind staying in right or DHing a bit, as long as he is in Seattle.

Though from a pure baseball standpoint, getting Griffey does not make the Mariners the team to beat, you never know. Maybe a change of scenery will invigorate the 38-year-old future Hall of Famer.

Griffey saved baseball in Seattle once, maybe he can do it again.

I know it's still a little premature to eulogize Griffey's time in Cincinnati, but I am starting to get the feeling I should begin to get that column ready.

ANOTHER ROUND OF INTERLEAGUE PLAY

One of the things I am starting to like least about baseball resumes this weekend, as the interleague portion of the schedule gets underway.

I have to admit I was all for it when it first came about back in 1997, but now I am starting to think that maybe the idea has run its course.

Growing up in New York as a Yankees fan, of course I was thrilled when they finally got a chance to play the Mets. But I have seen it over and over again at this point, including a World Series matchup which I have to think could have been so much more exciting without having already seen them face off countless times in interleague play.

As a kid I used to love watching the All-Star Game, getting to watch Don Mattingly face Dwight Gooden. It was special because it was so rare. You don't have that anymore, and it is a shame.

Judging by the attendance in interleague games, it is here to stay. But there have to be some tweaks to the system. Maybe eliminate the natural rivalries, like the Subway, Freeway and Windy City Series', and just play them when it is their turn, rather than every year. to make them more special.

Good luck taking those guaranteed sellouts away from the owners, though.

ALL-STAR COACHES ANNOUNCED

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Colorado Rockies skipper Clint Hurdle announced their on-field staffs for the 2008 All-Star Game, which will be played at Yankee Stadium on July 15.

Francona named Detroit's Jim Leyland and Joe Girardi of the host Yankees to the American League staff. Meanwhile, joining Hurdle in the National League dugout will be Willie Randolph of the Mets and the San Diego Padres' Bud Black.

I was hoping Hurdle would name Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre to the team, letting him return to the Bronx for one final time before they shut the doors on the place after this season. Maybe he did and Torre declined. Who knows?

Maybe Hurdle will name Torre once Randolph is fired from the Mets, which could come by the end of the weekend if things get ugly for the Amazins in the Bronx.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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