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OnBaseMachine
03-05-2006, 12:02 AM
Reds' Aurilia all right with utility role
Former All-Star shortstop happy to play just about anywhere
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- The daily commute to the ballpark this season will probably include an element of mystery for Reds infielder Rich Aurilia.

When he reaches the clubhouse on any given day and checks the lineup card, will Aurilia find his name slotted in at second base, or will it be third base --or perhaps even shortstop?

Or will he be coming off the bench, if, in fact, he sees any action at all that day?

Aurilia is prepared to go with the flow and accept whatever role manager Jerry Narron asks him to play.

"I've played too long to let my ego get in the way, or my pride -- to say, 'I have to play shortstop' or something like that," said Aurilia, who batted .282 with 14 home runs and 68 RBIs in 2005. "You know what? I played 10 years at shortstop. Can I still play there? Yeah. But we have a good shortstop here."

That shortstop is Felipe Lopez, who claimed the position outright last May when Aurilia went on the disabled list for 17 games with a hamstring injury. Lopez went on to earn All-Star honors and a Silver Slugger Award.

Aurilia, who was Cincinnati's 2005 Opening Day shortstop in his first season with the club, took on a utility role upon his return. He played 68 games at second base and 18 at third base and batted .306 with 11 homers over his final 89 games. His overall .343 on-base percentage led the club.

"I think I got used to last year, just coming in and looking at the lineup to see where I'm playing. If you asked me earlier in my career, would I like that? Probably not. Now, I think I know how to deal with it better. I know I've accomplished some things at different places. To me, it shows they have confidence in me to put me in these places without telling me. That makes me feel good, too."

Aurilia is a former All-Star starting shortstop himself and was a Silver Slugger Award winner back in 2001 when he hit .324 with 37 home runs and 97 RBIs for the Giants. After his nine-season run in San Francisco ended in 2003, he split the 2004 season between Seattle and San Diego before signing a Minor League deal with Cincinnati in 2005 and earning a spot out of camp.

The Reds declined Aurilia's 2006 option, but negotiated with him for several weeks on a deal. Narron promised him nothing in terms of a regular spot but, as someone who prefers veteran role players, provided sufficient assurance the 34-year-old would be well used in a variety of positions.

"Rich knows how to play the game,"(in other words...he sucks)Narron said. "He's an intelligent player, which I definitely like."

Aurilia re-signed with the Reds, inking a one-year, $1.3 million contract just before the deadline for big-league clubs to retain their own free agents.

"Am I happy I'm back here? Yeah," Aurilia said. "I love the guys on this team. I like the city of Cincinnati. It's a nice place to live. I like the new additions of [chief executive officer] Bob Castellini and [general manager] Wayne Krivsky. So far, it's been a great camp."

The starting second base job appears wide open, with Aurilia in the mix, along with Ryan Freel and Tony Womack. Third base is Edwin Encarnacion's job to lose to Aurilia if the kid struggles. Off to a 5-for-9 start with three homers this spring, Encarnacion appears focused on keeping the spot.

When a glove company representative recently visited camp, Aurilia ordered a first baseman's glove on Narron's recommendation.

"After the last year of playing a couple of new positions, I have confidence that I can do that and get the job done there," Aurilia said. "I think they have the confidence in me that if they needed to put me somewhere, that I would do the job."

No matter where he ends up being stationed this season, Aurilia believes he'll be happy as long as he's playing somewhere.

"I'm confident [enough in] the way I've worked this offseason and in my abilities to play well that things should take care of themselves," Aurilia said. "In the long run, whether it be at third, shortstop or second, my goal is to just play and help this team win, which I think I can do."

[i]Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060304&content_id=1334405&vkey=spt2006news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

paulrichjr
03-05-2006, 12:16 AM
[QUOTE= His overall .343 on-base percentage led the club.

[/QUOTE]

I know the guy ruffled some feathers last year but look at that one line above. I personally thought he did quiet well last year. Should he be the starting shortstop, second baseman, or third baseman? No. Does he "suck" as you said? No. He is a very good reserve player. Nothing more and nothing less.

captainmorgan07
03-05-2006, 12:19 AM
hey aslong as he's fine with it and doesn't complain we'll take his efforts

KronoRed
03-05-2006, 12:21 AM
Lets see who the starter ends up being.

Ravenlord
03-05-2006, 12:49 AM
His overall .343 on-base percentage led the club. except it didn't. Dunn, Freel, Casey Griffey, Denorfia, Valentin, Ramda, LaRue, Romano, and Lopez all had better OBPs than Aurilia, who really had a 338 OBP. that doesn't even go into the fact RA had a sub-300 OBP away from home.

Chip R
03-05-2006, 01:01 AM
Nowhere in that article did I read that he would be OK coming off the bench. I think complaining about where he played last year was somewhat of a red herring. He was mad that he didn't get to play on a regular basis. Seems like the same thing will happen this year if he doesn't play all the time.

TeamBoone
03-05-2006, 01:15 AM
except it didn't. Dunn, Freel, Casey Griffey, Denorfia, Valentin, Ramda, LaRue, Romano, and Lopez all had better OBPs than Aurilia, who really had a 338 OBP. that doesn't even go into the fact RA had a sub-300 OBP away from home.

I was wondering about that when I read it. I knew he didn't, but I didn't know there were so many who were better.

This is a major reporting error. What is up with these guys? Don't they check their work? It seems to be getting worse and worse and a whole lot more often. Shoddy reporting. And how the heck many people will read this erroneous piece and think Rich Aurilia is just the best?????? :eek:

You should write both Mark Sheldon and his boss, whomever that may be.

Dunner44
03-05-2006, 01:47 AM
Nowhere in that article did I read that he would be OK coming off the bench. I think complaining about where he played last year was somewhat of a red herring. He was mad that he didn't get to play on a regular basis. Seems like the same thing will happen this year if he doesn't play all the time.

Yeah, this line caught my eye:

Aurilia believes he'll be happy as long as he's playing somewhere.

yeah.... that seems to say to me that if Rich is on the bench he's gonna piss and moan his heart out

OnBaseMachine
03-05-2006, 02:21 AM
His overall .343 on-base percentage led the club.

I somehow missed that the first time I read it. Man, the Reds have some horrible writers these days. Lancaster is a great, great writer - I really enjoy his work, as for the rest...I wish I could say the same. Hal is decent, I guess.

KronoRed
03-05-2006, 02:22 AM
He probably already knows he has a job.

Barring injury or trade ;)

Revering4Blue
03-05-2006, 04:48 AM
By Hal McCoy
COX NEWS SERVICE

SARASOTA, Fla. - Ryan Freel should come to the ballpark every day wearing a utility belt -- a hammer here, a pair of pliers there, a tape measure here, a screw driver there.

His role as the Reds' utility man isn't something he savors, even though it is a round-about compliment that Cincinnati Reds Manager Jerry Narron believes he is too valuable to play one position every day.

"You hate to see anybody get hurt, but mostly that's what has to happen for me to play a lot," said Freel.

The Reds first exhibition game Thursday in Lakeland was Exhibit A. Austin Kearns was supposed to play right field, but he was hit on the right forearm in an intrasquad game and couldn't make it.

Who took his place? Ryan Freel.

The Reds second exhibition game was Friday in Sarasota and center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. was gone to play in the World Baseball Classic.

Who took his place? Ryan Freel, who was 1-for-3, a single in the first, during a 17-10 loss to the Detroit Tigers in which Adam Dunn and Aaron Holbert homered.

"It's unfortunate Kearns got hurt, but I was able to fill-in and play some right field Thursday," Freel said. "And there I was in center (Friday)."

And yesterday in Tampa he played second base against the New York Yankees.

Welcome to Ryan's World. Have Gloves, Will Travel.

"Play a little here, play a little there," he said with a smile. "Start right where we left off last season."

Freel is appreciative of his opportunity to wear a major-league uniform and he'll play anywhere but left out.

"It is kind of mind-boggling that you can be such an asset to a team, as they say, still you don't have a position," he said. "I mean, I'd love to play Opening Day -- everybody wants to play Opening Day -- but it comes down to somebody being hurt or somebody not hitting and you don't want to see that."

Freel made only 89 starts last season, making them at five different positions. Two years ago he became only the second player in major-league history to start 10 or more games at five different positions.

Nevertheless, in only 369 at-bats he led the team in stolen bases with 36, one less than he stole in 2004 when he batted 505 times.

"In the three years I've been here, I was able to play somehow and somewhere," said the 30-year-old Floridian. "Something always happens.

"But it is not all about me," he said. "I just want to win, help take the team up a level. And whatever it takes, I'm willing to do."

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/sports/baseball/mlb/cincinnati_reds/14021359.htm

TeamBoone
03-05-2006, 04:03 PM
yeah.... that seems to say to me that if Rich is on the bench he's gonna piss and moan his heart out

I totally agree.

He might be ok with it now, but he's not going to be once the season starts. Prepare for the perpetual whine, even though he knew what he was getting into this year from Day 1.

And the worst part, JN will probably accomodate him. I don't know what his man-love is all about for this guy.