View Full Version : Change in air at Reds camp (2/16)

02-16-2006, 11:45 AM
02/16/2006 12:01 AM ET
Change in air at Reds camp
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A new regime is running the Reds, but a tradition that preceded its arrival and will remain long after its departure, continued Thursday.

Cincinnati pitchers and catchers reported to camp, which marked the official start to Spring Training.

It's first time that the Reds are working out under the watchful eyes of new chief executive officer Bob Castellini -- who assumed control last month -- general manager Wayne Krivsky -- who Castellini hired last week -- manager Jerry Narron -- who begins his first full year after taking over on an interim basis last summer.

Reds players will be taking their physicals Friday, with the first workout for pitchers and catchers coming Saturday. The full squad is scheduled to report Tuesday, with the first workout with the entire team coming Wednesday afternoon.

Like most other clubs, Narron and his coaches will put the players through a battery of drills. Some might seem mundane -- like pitchers fielding grounders or covering first base. Others could be more intricate, like bunting, base running and practicing run downs.

"The big thing is quality," Narron said. "You try to practice and prepare as much as you can. We're definitely going over fundamentals. I believe, no matter what you do in life or in this game, if you do the little things right -- the big things take care of themselves."

Castellini, Krivsky and Narron will be facing unique challenges this spring. The new owner and GM weren't afforded a whole offseason to prepare. Krivsky, in fact, only had just one week to get up to speed.

The biggest issue facing the team this spring is assembling a pitching staff with depth. Cincinnati ranked at the bottom of the National League in several categories in 2005 but made few significant changes to the 2006 staff. The club also did not find an established closer.

With the inaugural World Baseball Classic tournament beginning March 3, seven Reds players will be taking leave to play for their countries. The list includes regular players like center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. for Team USA, shortstop Felipe Lopez for Puerto Rico and left fielder Wily Mo Pena for the Dominican Republic.

Adam Dunn, the Reds' leading home run hitter the past two seasons, will be shifting from left field to first base this year and replacing Sean Casey. Dunn, who signed a two-year, $18.5 million contract Monday, hasn't regularly played the position since high school but has been working on his defensive skills to be ready.

Pena and right fielder Austin Kearns will be entering camp as every day players for the first time.

There will be some new faces mixing with the familiar ones this spring. Fans will be familiarizing themselves with starting pitcher Dave Williams, first baseman Scott Hatteberg, reliever Rick White and 40-year-old lefty Chris Hammond -- who began his career with the Reds 16 years ago.

Grapefruit League play for the Reds commences March 2 vs. the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. The home opener at Ed Smith Stadium is March 3 with a split-squad again facing Detroit.

It all leads up to the forming of the 25-man roster and the opening of the regular season, April 3 vs. the Cubs, at Great American Ball Park.