CINCINNATI, AUG. 18 -- Ken Griffey, a prominent member of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in the 1970s, retired today. Griffey, 40, was partially in uniform when Reds Manager Lou Piniella called him into his office before the game vs. Pittsburgh.

Piniella said Griffey, used primarily as a pinch hitter this season, agreed to retire to help the club through a roster problem. "I think that's accurate. I talked to Ken," he said. "There were a couple of options involved and this is the one he chose."

Griffey spoke to the team briefly, then left. The Reds needed room for Chris Hammond, who was scheduled to start today but wasn't on the roster.

Griffey started five games at first base and four in left field this season. He's also pinch-hit 31 times. He hit .206 with a homer and eight RBI.

He spent 13 seasons in the Reds' organization after being drafted in June 1969. He was first called up in 1973 and played his first full major league season in 1975, when the Reds won the first of two consecutive World Series titles. Griffey hit .305 in 1975 and .336 in '76.

He was traded to the Yankees before the 1982 season, played for four seasons in New York, then was dealt to Atlanta in 1986. Cincinnati signed him as free agent in 1988.

"Kenny had talked about retirement," Piniella said. "Today he did it."