05/05/2003 8:14 PM ET
Cards notes: Strange homecoming
Vina's right hand hurting again
CINCINNATI -- Eduardo Perez grew up around Riverfront Stadium. You could even say he grew up in the old ballpark, which spent its final years known as Cinergy Field. The son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, Eduardo was born in Cincinnati and spent lots of time at Riverfront while his dad played for the Reds.
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
So it was strange for him to come to Great American Ball Park for the first time. It's still Cincinnati, but...
"It almost feels like a different city, to come to this ballpark," Perez said before the Cardinals' first game at the new stadium. "It's definitely not the same, that's for sure.
"Every city has to move on. They went from Crosley Field to Riverfront. They changed the name of Riverfront to Cinergy, and that wasn't the same. And now, they've got Great American Ball Park, and I hope it works out for them. It's a rich tradition they have here -- but it's definitely a drastic change."
After his first glimpse at Great American, Perez had a generally favorable review, but it was hard for him to give it a whole-hearted endorsement.
But coming to Cincinnati -- where Perez himself played for three years -- is still special.
"This is where I was born," he said. "I was raised here. It's always meaningful to come back to this place. I see the same people working, the same people out there. As soon as I walk through the gates I hear a lot of the people.
"But it's also sad not to be playing over there (at Riverfront/Cinergy)."
Twelve of Perez's 50 career homers and 290 of his 1194 at-bats came at the old Cincinnati stadium -- both are by far his most at any ballpark.
Vina hurting again: Fernando Vina's right hand was wrapped in ice before pregame warm-ups on Monday. The leadoff man admitted that his previous hand injury has flared up a bit, though not enough to keep him out of the lineup.
Vina missed six games in mid-April with tenosynovitis, an inflammation of a tendon sheath, in his right hand. For now, the recurrence is being treated mostly with ice. He said that if treatment doesn't take, he might have to miss more time.
Smooth sailing: The Cards avoided the heavy thunderstorms and tornados that punished much of the Midwest on Sunday evening. Their flight from St. Louis to Cincinnati was at a perfect time, avoiding the worst of the conditions in both places.
Baby 'Birds: Triple-A Memphis was rocked by Sacramento again, 11-4. The RiverCats roughed up Jay Yennaco for eight runs on eight hits in four innings. Kerry Robinson went 3-for-5 in his first game since being optioned. ... Double-A Tennessee pounded 22 base hits in a 15-6 thrashing of West Tenn. Nick Stocks gave up four runs in five innings but got the win, while Rick Ankiel picked up his first base hit -- a two-run pinch-single. ... Single-A Peoria watched a 4-0 lead slip away in a 5-4 loss to Kane County. Five different Chiefs stole a base.
Player of the Day honors go to a pair of Tennessee Smokies, Bucky Jacobsen and John Gall. Each went 4-for-6 with four RBIs. Jacobsen homered twice and scored two runs, while Gall homered, doubled and scored three runs. Jacobsen signed with the Cardinals organization as a free agent last summer. Gall was the team's 11th-round draft pick in 2000.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.