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TeamBoone
02-20-2006, 08:39 PM
02/20/2006 3:12 PM ET
Notes: Dunn transitions to first base
Wilson continues progress; Valentin joins camp
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- In camp early with a new contract, and a new position in the field, first baseman Adam Dunn completed his first workout Monday morning.
After dealing away first baseman Sean Casey to Pittsburgh in December, Cincinnati decided to move Dunn in from left field, allowing the club to find everyday spots for outfielder Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns.

Dunn filled in at first base late last season when Casey was injured. He also played the position in high school.

"I anticipate doing well," Dunn said. "It should be an easier transition going from the outfield to the infield since I've played infield a little."

Although he originally agreed to participate if asked, the 26-year-old Dunn decided to pass on playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic because he wanted to use the time to improve defensively. While home in Texas during the offseason, he didn't take any grounders.

"I'll work on it. That's what Spring Training is for," Dunn said. "I'll come in and do some early work and try to get as good as possible -- in a hurry."

Dunn batted .247 with 40 home runs and 101 RBIs last season, which made him only the third hitter in Reds history to have back-to-back 40-homer, 100-RBI seasons. He was rewarded with a two-year, $18.5 million contract with a $13 million club option for the 2008 season, which avoided arbitration.

"First and foremost, I'm glad to have gotten it out of the way, so I don't have to deal with it," Dunn said. "I didn't want to go to arbitration and fortunately, the Reds didn't want to go either. Everything worked out for both sides, I think."

Wilson update: The rehabilitation from shoulder surgery continued to be positive for starting pitcher Paul Wilson. The right-hander stretched his long toss regimen to 120 feet Monday, and he will be throwing in a side session from flat ground Wednesday.

Reds head trainer Mark Mann said that Wilson could be throwing in a live batting practice session next week.

Wilson's last bullpen session was Wednesday. He was given a longer rest period since the volume and intensity of his pitches had been increasing. He was throwing at around 75 percent but ended sessions working at 90 percent intensity.

Injury report: Right-hander Luke Hudson reported improvement after missing Sunday's workout with lower back spasms. Mann said Hudson would long toss Tuesday if the pitcher felt better.

More arrivals: Reds catcher Javier Valentin was part of the latest wave of position player arrivals to camp Monday. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and infielder Ray Olmedo also showed up. Position players aren't required to report until Tuesday. Tony Womack, Wily Mo Pena and Rich Aurilia are among those who have yet to appear.

Valentin just returned from Puerto Rico, where he was with his wife when she delivered a baby boy on Wednesday. The newborn came two weeks premature and had difficulty breathing at first.

"It was scary," Valentin said. "Right now, he's responding and doing a little better. He's home with his mom. Everybody is OK."

It will be a relatively short stay in Florida for Valentin, who will return to Puerto Rico on March 2 to play for his country in the World Baseball Classic. Manager Jerry Narron said that would mean more opportunities in camp for the two younger catchers on his 40-man roster -- Dane Sardinha and Miguel Perez.

"They're going to get a lot of playing time," Narron said.

Emergency catcher? With Scott Hatteberg in camp, Narron was asked if he would use the veteran behind the plate this spring or during the season. Hatteberg, now a first baseman, was a catcher earlier in his career while with Boston.

It didn't sound likely that Hatteberg would be seen in catcher's gear too often.

"I talked with Hatteberg about trying to get [utility player] Ryan Freel out of the emergency catcher role," Narron said. "I think Freelie wants to fight him for it though.

"I may be completely wrong, but if he catches this year, I'll be very surprised."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060220&content_id=1316518&vkey=spt2006news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

gonelong
02-20-2006, 10:29 PM
"I talked with Hatteberg about trying to get [utility player] Ryan Freel out of the emergency catcher role," Narron said. "I think Freelie wants to fight him for it though.

I don't doubt it. Ha Ha.

GL

Dunner44
02-20-2006, 10:59 PM
02/20/2006 3:12 PM ET
More arrivals: Reds catcher Javier Valentin was part of the latest wave of position player arrivals to camp Monday. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and infielder Ray Olmedo also showed up. Position players aren't required to report until Tuesday. Tony Womack, Wily Mo Pena and Rich Aurilia are among those who have yet to appear.


Pena needs to get there and hone his Defense.... i love his power, but hate the liability that he is in LF, and his high percentage of whiffs

harangatang
02-20-2006, 11:16 PM
I thought Dunn transitioned to first base when Casey got hurt at the end last season.

Nugget
02-20-2006, 11:45 PM
Dunn was only a part time 1B last year. People don't expect as much of you. If your going to be 1B day in a day out you need to make sure you are up for it. Taking grounders is only part of it. Its holding people on bag, etc. A lot of it is so that he is used to beiong there and not running off into left field when a fly-ball is hit.

JinAZ
02-21-2006, 12:01 AM
I'm a fan of Dunn, but I'm a little bit disappointed to hear he hasn't been trying to get a head start on 1B defense in the offseason. He's a good athlete and hopefully he can become adequate defensively at first, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt matters to start a bit early. -jinaz

jmcclain19
02-21-2006, 12:07 AM
Gee, Womack and Aurilia are two of the last guys in camp.

What a shocker

KronoRed
02-21-2006, 12:18 AM
Gee, Womack and Aurilia are two of the last guys in camp.

What a shocker
Guaranteed jobs for the old vets, why rush it?

TeamBoone
02-21-2006, 12:52 AM
I'm a fan of Dunn, but I'm a little bit disappointed to hear he hasn't been trying to get a head start on 1B defense in the offseason. He's a good athlete and hopefully he can become adequate defensively at first, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt matters to start a bit early. -jinaz

Casey was traded in December. ST in mid-Feb. Plus, is that something he can do alone? Wouldn't he have to have someone else to help him out?

I'm not sure what you wanted him to do.

westofyou
02-21-2006, 01:13 AM
I'm a fan of Dunn, but I'm a little bit disappointed to hear he hasn't been trying to get a head start on 1B defense in the offseason. He's a good athlete and hopefully he can become adequate defensively at first, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt matters to start a bit early. -jinaz

Dunn played first until he went to the minor leagues, plus next to Casey Dunn has the most games played and putouts at first for the Reds in the 21st century.

WMR
02-21-2006, 01:48 AM
I'm a fan of Dunn, but I'm a little bit disappointed to hear he hasn't been trying to get a head start on 1B defense in the offseason. He's a good athlete and hopefully he can become adequate defensively at first, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt matters to start a bit early. -jinaz

Those were my thoughts exactly. It wouldn't have put a crimp on his off-season to take a few groundballs here and there once he knew for sure he was being "transitioned."

WMR
02-21-2006, 01:49 AM
Casey was traded in December. ST in mid-Feb. Plus, is that something he can do alone? Wouldn't he have to have someone else to help him out?

I'm not sure what you wanted him to do.

You're seriously trying to contend that Dunn doesn't have a slew of friends who would probably die to go out and hit him some grounders???

Casey was traded in December ... Spring Training starts in late February ... Exactly: That's two and a half months.

Gainesville Red
02-21-2006, 01:56 AM
You're seriously trying to contend that Dunn doesn't have a slew of friends who would probably die to go out and hit him some grounders???


He could have called me, I seriously would have dropped whatever I was doing and gone to play ball w/ Dunn for a couple months. Probably do some fishing and beer drinking along the way. Wouldn't be the worst way to spend the winter.

KronoRed
02-21-2006, 02:54 AM
Maybe all his friends are Football players ;)

Besides, he's played a bit of 1st every year he's been up here, this is not like moving to SS

bianchiveloce
02-21-2006, 05:21 AM
Dunn was only a part time 1B last year. People don't expect as much of you. If your going to be 1B day in a day out you need to make sure you are up for it. Taking grounders is only part of it. Its holding people on bag, etc. A lot of it is so that he is used to beiong there and not running off into left field when a fly-ball is hit.

Dunn will be fine at firstbase. I don't expect he will be a slick fielding firstbaseman in his first year as a full time firstbaseman. He will improve as a fielder as he hones his skills. As he gains experience and confidence, he will become a very good fielder at firstbase.

In looking at his fielding stats as a firstbaseman on Baseball Prospectus' (BP)site, I see a trend toward improvement as he has gained major league experience at firstbase. Dunn was primarily a firstbaseman in high school so firstbase isn't a totally foreign environment for the big guy. But, what he now needs, as Nugget touches on, is to learn the major league quality mental fundamentals (holding runners on, cut off positioning, when to go after balls in shallow rightfield, when to call for pick offs, etc.).

Fielding Statistics as First Baseman
YEAR TEAM POS G PO A E DP Rate
2002 CIN-N FB 44 360 22 6 30 87
2003 CIN-N FB 19 81 8 1 10 90
2004 CIN-N FB 10 76 4 0 5 116
2005 CIN-N FB 33 244 11 4 31 104

Rate, as defined on BP, is a way to look at a fielder's rate of production, equal to 100 plus the number of runs above or below average this fielder is per 100 games. A player with a rate of 110 is 10 runs above average per 100 games, a player with an 87 is 13 runs below average per 100 games, etc.

As you can see, Dunn's fielding rate at firstbase shows significant improvement from 2002 to 2005. I wouldn't put much stock in the years 2003 and 2004 since he didn't play that many games at firstbase, but focus on the huge difference between 2002 and 2005.

I'm really encouraged that the percentage of double plays(DP) per game for years 2002(30 dp/44 games= .750) and 2005 (.939) shows a very nice increase. The footwork, body positioning, and arm slot on the throws are some tough things for a firstbaseman to execute when turning a double play. With limited experience at firstbase, Dunn has been able to improve on turning the double play. A spring training spent on working as a fielder at firstbase will lead to more positive results for Dunn.

When looking at Casey's fielding numbers on BP, Casey has a career rate of 96 as firstbaseman. In other words, as a fielder at firstbase, Casey was a below average fielder per BP's definition of rate. Dunn was already a better fielder at firstbase last year than Casey's career rate at firstbase. Not knocking Casey per say for his fielding since I must admit to being a fan of The Mayor, just pointing out that Dunn will be just fine as a fielder at firstbase in the coming year and beyond.

TeamBoone
02-21-2006, 02:19 PM
You're seriously trying to contend that Dunn doesn't have a slew of friends who would probably die to go out and hit him some grounders???

Casey was traded in December ... Spring Training starts in late February ... Exactly: That's two and a half months.

Casey was traded when? December 6th or the 11th, something like that... who the heck even knows then all the players received the info, plus, with the holidays, December was already shot. And who knows what was already planned for him/by him during the month and half that was left.

A lot of people seem to think these guys do nothing during the offseason and maybe some do, though I highly doubt it. Or they think that they should devote their entire offseason to baseball (and some of them do by playing winter ball).

Somewhere in the middle are those that do probably work at keeping in shape, have endorsement stuff to deal with, autograph shows to attend, etc. What ever time is left during the offseason is when they get the chance to have a life. During the 7.5 to 8.5 months they are "working", they don't have the time as they work almost EVERY SINGLE DAY!

For Pete's sake, give the guys a break. Besides, I have a tendency to agree with him... "that's what ST is for".

KearnsyEars
02-21-2006, 02:25 PM
Look at it this way, maybe the grounders during ST will keep his head out of the Sarasota Taverns, Strip Joints, and high stakes poker games that you know goes on non-stop int he big leagues.

JinAZ
02-21-2006, 02:41 PM
Somewhere in the middle are those that do probably work at keeping in shape, have endorsement stuff to deal with, autograph shows to attend, etc. What ever time is left during the offseason is when they get the chance to have a life. During the 7.5 to 8.5 months they are "working", they don't have the time as they work almost EVERY SINGLE DAY!

For Pete's sake, give the guys a break. Besides, I have a tendency to agree with him... "that's what ST is for".

I'll agree that the offseason, for established players, should be a time for rest...mostly. If I were a typical MLB player, I'd stay on a low-impact exercise program, take BP a few times a month, but otherwise to generally give my body and mind a rest from baseball.

But if I were Dunn, and found that I'd be switching full time to a new position, I'd try to work in at least a bit of time with a coach to start working on my defense. I'm not saying he needed to be doing that 8 hours, 5 days a week, but there's something to be said for taking a few hours a couple times a week to start honing those skills. After all, it's not every year you switch positions.

Yes, Dunn has been ok at first thus far, and will probably be ok this year. But he's a good enough athlete to become not just ok at first, but good. It won't happen, though, unless he puts in some work (see Pujols as an example).
-jinaz

Ron Madden
02-22-2006, 04:44 AM
GOOD GOD!!!

It's not like he's never played there before. :bang:

WMR
02-22-2006, 03:35 PM
GOOD GOD!!!

It's not like he's never played there before. :bang:

It's not like he could stand to improve his footwork, recognition, anticipation, or the myriad of other skills that go along with being a good 1st baseman.

Heck, he's played there before--and high school!--why ask him to get a head start on becoming even MORE familiar with a position that he's obviously so comfortable playing?!?!

:bang: :bang: :bang:

westofyou
02-22-2006, 03:40 PM
Heck, he's played there before--and high school!-
And those 108 games since 2001.

Cyclone792
02-22-2006, 05:01 PM
I'm not too worried about Dunn playing first, and I expect him to be fine there. Could he have worked on his fielding there a bit during the offseason? Probably, but I'm not going to hold it against him. Heck, he showed up early to spring training, and for a month-and-a-half down there with the coaches his primary job will be readying himself for the position.

Also, an interesting sidenote about Scott Hatteberg that is relevant to this discussion (and for those who haven't read Moneyball) ... the A's were really the only team to go after Hatteberg after the 2001 season. The Rockies participated in a small bidding war with Oakland, but the A's informed Hatteberg they wanted to start him at first base and he signed with them in late December. He'd never played first base in his entire career, and was paranoid about making the transition. From late December until the start of spring training, Hatteberg had his wife hit groundballs to him off a batting tee on their home community's tennis courts. Whether or not those little early practice sessions helped or not, who knows, but it's interesting nonetheless.

WMR
03-26-2006, 07:00 PM
It's not like he could stand to improve his footwork, recognition, anticipation, or the myriad of other skills that go along with being a good 1st baseman.

Heck, he's played there before--and high school!--why ask him to get a head start on becoming even MORE familiar with a position that he's obviously so comfortable playing?!?!

:bang: :bang: :bang:


Hmmm...

KronoRed
03-26-2006, 07:51 PM
He was going to be fine at 1st, the Reds just wanted to get some more old vettyness in the lineup.

KittyDuran
03-26-2006, 09:11 PM
He was going to be fine at 1st, the Reds just wanted to get some more old vettyness in the lineup.Hmmm... "vettyness", Gracie? ;)

redsfan30
03-26-2006, 09:14 PM
Dunn was thrilled to death to move back to left field....sounded like he'd rather have a extreme dental work done than play first base on an everyday basis.

This is the thing that people seem to be overlooking.

Jpup
03-27-2006, 06:09 AM
Dunn was thrilled to death to move back to left field....sounded like he'd rather have a extreme dental work done than play first base on an everyday basis.

This is the thing that people seem to be overlooking.

I'm glad they moved Dunner back to left if that is what will make him happy and keep him focused at the plate. I just want the Reds to get a real first baseman.


ATTN Jerry Narron: Rich Aurilia is not your savior.

I'm fine with Aurilia at second if they start Freel somewhere else, but I don't want him playing everyday. You should put your best available players in the lineup each day, Aurilia and Hatteberg are not on that list IMO.