St. Louis — Ken Griffey Jr. grounded out as a pinch-hitter Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, his first game since he dislocated his right shoulder in April.
Griffey was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day. He pinch-hit for Paul Wilson in the seventh inning, and did not play in the field.
Before the game, Reds manager Bob Boone said Griffey would start either tonight or Thursday, but not both games.
The 33-year-old Griffey was hurt while trying to make a diving catch April 5 against the Chicago Cubs. He resumed taking batting practice last week, and was activated in time for the start of the three-game series against the Cardinals.
"It was going to happen sooner or later," Griffey said. "You're always glad when it's sooner rather than later."
All three of the Reds' outfielders have been playing well in Griffey's absence, and Jose Guillen, batting .312 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs, will become the odd man out for now.
"But he will play a lot," Boone said.
Griffey has been taking batting practice for several days and said he was ready to go, although he's not 100 percent.
"Have you ever dislocated your shoulder?" Griffey asked a reporter. "But I've got full range of motion and pretty good strength."
The Reds designated outfielder Ruben Mateo for assignment to make room for Griffey. Mateo hit .200 in 22 games, including 11 starts. The Reds have 10 days to trade Mateo, sent him outright to the minor leagues to place him on waivers for the purpose of his unconditional release.
Griffey came to the Reds in a February 2000 trade with a history of durability and consistency. His only major injury in 11 years with the Seattle Mariners was a broken wrist from running into an outfield wall in 1995.
No matter how hard he has tried, Griffey hasn't been able to stay healthy with his hometown team.