Ken Griffey Jr. doesn't want to talk about his future with the Mariners. But his father, Ken Sr., the Reds bench coach, is doing a lot of talking for him.

"Do I look like I'm in Dayton?" the Mariners' slugger said when asked about a story in Sunday's editions of the Dayton Daily News that said the Mariners were in a mood to fire Manager Lou Piniella and replace him with Griffey Sr.

Griffey Sr. told the Dayton newspaper, "That might be the only way to keep Junior. He said he's gone."

"I don't read what you all write," Griffey said. "I'm not in Dayton."

Mariners President Chuck Armstrong said he had no reaction to the Dayton story.

"Lou is signed through 2000," Armstrong said.

Griffey, 29, is signed through the 2000 season and the Mariners have said they want to sign him to a contract extension.

Griffey is believed to be unhappy with the Mariners' new Safeco Field, at which he has two homers in his first 11 games in the ballpark.

SELF-IMPROVEMENT: The way Indians GM John Hart figures it, his team is on the verge of making several changes to improve its roster now that the trading deadline has passed.

"We have some quality players just about ready to rejoin us," Hart said after failing to make any deals.

"We have Jaret Wright and Kenny Lofton coming back in a couple of days and Sandy Alomar in 10 days to two weeks. That should give us a lift," Hart said. "We also look for Travis Fryman and Wil Cordero to rejoin the team in September."

Meanwhile, Lofton yesterday missed his fourth straight game with a strained right hamstring and David Justice missed his seventh in a row with a bruised left wrist.