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Reds Rely On Two Newcomers To Hold Bullpen Together

March 26, 1996 GMT

PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) _ One’s basically a newcomer, the other has been with four teams in five years. Together, they’re being counted on to hold the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen together.

Marcus Moore and Jeff Shaw have been the steadiest relievers in training camp, earning jobs in the retooled bullpen. Neither was a frontrunner when camp opened in part because neither has done much in the major leagues.

Moore, 25, has never spent a full season in the majors. He was 4-2 with a 6.45 ERA in parts of two seasons with Colorado.

Shaw, 29, was 11-25 with a 4.50 in stints with Cleveland, Montreal and the Chicago White Sox. He was invited to the Reds’ camp as a nonroster player.

With Mike Jackson gone through free agency, Jeff Brantley hurt and Johnny Ruffin optioned to the minors, the bullpen became one of manager Ray Knight’s biggest concerns. Moore and Shaw have eased it.

``We’re still working on a trade or two and we will continue to do that,″ Knight said Tuesday. ``But at least I think our bullpen is finally in order the best way it can possibly be. I know that we don’t have any more choices. But I know that the guys we have on the team are the best guys that were here, no question.″

Shaw, taken by Cleveland as the first player in the 1988 amateur draft, showed up hoping to show the Reds he’s not the same player who struggled with the Indians and the Expos.

Cleveland called him up in 1990 and put him in the rotation. Shaw never stayed a full season with the Indians, who let him go after the 1992 season. He spent the next two seasons with Montreal and split last season between the Expos and the White Sox.

``I just didn’t live up to the expectations (in Cleveland),″ he said. ``They thought I was going to be a starter. They rushed me to the big leagues. I was there at age 23. I wasn’t ready. Basically, I only had one pitch and was working on a second. It was a circumstance of them not having anybody.″

He now throws a fastball, split-finger fastball and a slider.

``Since the ’93 season, I’ve known basically what I could get guys out on and what I couldn’t. It’s becoming more mature and knowing what you can do as a pitcher and as a person,″ Shaw said.

Moore had rough years in Colorado, going back and forth between the majors and the minors in 1993-94. He also had legal problems _ he was charged with first-degree sexual assault and third-degree assault after his girlfriend accused him of whipping and raping her.

A hung jury resulted in a mistrial last June in Denver District Court. Moore later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, and was sentenced last August to two years on probation. He also had to pay $1,650 to the girlfriend for therapy and to undergo domestic-violence counseling.

The Reds got Moore in a trade for Chris Sexton last April. Moore pitched for Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Indianapolis last year.

``He is a totally different person than when we got him,″ Knight said.

Knight had a talk with Moore early in training camp, when Moore declined to throw batting practice. Moore told Knight it was a misunderstanding.

``I said, `People misunderstand you because you come with a reputation for sometimes wanting to do things different,′ ″ Knight said. ``He said, `I don’t know where all that started, because all I want to do is win and pitch.′ ″

Knight said there have been no more problems.

``He came in the other day and I told him, `Marcus, I want you to not worry about anything. You’ve made my ballclub,′ ″ Knight said. ``He got really tender. I could see tears in his eyes. I hugged him, and he felt truly cared for. That’s what we’re all about.″