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OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 11:18 AM
Bruce could be right (field) fit
Rather than playing center, young prospect may end up being Griffey's replacement
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

SARASOTA, Fla. - Jay Bruce started the Reds' exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox Saturday in right field.

Bruce has gotten more playing time there than in center field, although he's competing for the job in center.

Significant?

It well could be.

Right field, of course, is occupied by one Ken Griffey Jr. Bruce isn't going to get any time in right once the real games start - unless Griffey is hurt or gone.

Whether Griffey gets hurt is anyone's guess. He obviously has had his share of injuries in recent seasons. But it should be noted that he played in 144 games last year.

The Reds won't say it, but there's a good chance they're looking beyond this season - or at least the start of this season - when it comes to Bruce.

Griffey is in the last year of his contract, though the Reds hold a $16.5 million option for 2009.

Griffey thinks he knows what they'll do.

"Sixteen million or $400,000," he said to no one in particular the other day. "What do you think they're going to do?"

Pay Bruce $400,000 to play and let Griffey go is the assumption Griffey's making.

That is not to say Bruce is completely out of the center-field competition. If he heats up considerably, he might force the Reds' hand.

But playing him in right field might indicate that's where the Reds think he'll end up long-term. Manager Dusty Baker hinted at that by saying he was worried about Bruce's legs in the wake of the outfielder's minor quad injury.

Bruce played mostly center field in the minor leagues, so he's comfortable enough there that the Reds can just plug him in at the position if they choose. (By the way, one of the things Bruce has impressed me with this spring is his speed.) But he needs to learn to play right field if he's going to be there long-term.

Another possibility: The Reds could pick up the option on Griffey, trade Joey Votto and play Griffey at first base and Bruce in right. But that's just pure speculation on my part.

Adam Dunn's status affects all this, too. The left fielder is eligible for free agency after this season. The Reds and Dunn said when camp opened that nothing is going on as far as talks about an extension.

My guess is an extension will get done, particularly if Dunn plays well early this season.

I'm on record as saying I thought Bruce would make the club out of spring training. I thought he'd overwhelm the Reds by playing so well he'd force their hand.

He's played well, but not that well. The quad injury came at a bad time, and the Reds have signed outfielder Corey Patterson since camp opened.

My guess is the Reds will have Patterson platooning in center field with either Norris Hopper or Ryan Freel.

Sending Bruce to Triple-A Louisville won't be popular with fans, but that doesn't make it the wrong decision. Bruce is 20 years old and has played all of 66 games above the Single-A level.

A player development guy I respect told me Louisville is the right place for Bruce to start the season.

What happens after the start of the season largely depends on how the Reds play. If they're winning and the center-field platoon is working, Bruce could be blocked from coming to the big leagues for much of the year.

If they struggle early, look for the Reds to try to move Griffey and open right field for Bruce earlier instead of later.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080316/COL09/803160428

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 11:19 AM
Pitching jobs still up for grabs
Only six of 12 spots appear to be locks
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

SARASOTA, Fla. - Dick Pole does what Reds fans all over do. He makes a list of which pitchers he thinks will come north with the team when the Reds break camp.

"About 4 o'clock in the morning, you wake up and make a list," Pole said. "Then the next morning, you wake up and make another list."

Pole's list is more significant than Joe Fan's because Pole is the pitching coach for the Reds. Of course, he's not revealing his list.

"That's top-secret stuff, right there," Pole said.

Right now, only six of the 12 or 13 spots are locks. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo will be in the rotation. Francisco Cordero, David Weathers, Jared Burton and Mike Stanton will be in the bullpen.

Johnny Cueto, based on dazzling stuff and great numbers this spring, is likely to be in rotation. Josh Fogg looks to be in, too. He has pitched well this spring, and he has won 10 games five of the past six years.

That would leave the fifth spot in the rotation between Jeremy Affeldt, Edinson Volquez, Matt Belisle and Homer Bailey.

Affeldt will be on the team as a reliever if he doesn't make the rotation. The same might be true of Belisle and Volquez.

The bullpen is even more crowded with competitors. Right-handers Jim Brower, Todd Coffey, Mike Lincoln, Gary Majewski, Marcus McBeth, Josh Roenicke, Brad Salmon and Tom Shearn and left-handers Bill Bray, Kent Mercker, Jon Coutlangus and Scott Sauerbeck are all still in camp.

And Rule 5 pick Jose Capellan is in camp, as well.

"We've got some decisions we've got to make," Pole said. "It's not going to be easy. That's not a bad thing."

Pole was speaking a day after the relievers pitched 11 scoreless innings in split-squad games.

"Picking out the team is going to be hard," Pole said. "Guys are on an equal level, and they're pitching well. You have to make a decision. It affects us. It affects them. It affects everybody."

CUTS: The Reds trimmed the roster by three Saturday. Catcher Craig Tatum and right-hander Daryl Thompson were optioned to Double-A Chattanooga, and right-hander Jon Adkins was re-assigned to the minor-league camp.

JAVY HURTING: Catcher Javier Valentin left Friday's game after taking a foul ball off the top of a shoulder.

"It's sore, real sore," Valentin said. "But I'm OK."

He did not make the trip to Fort Myers for Saturday's game with the Red Sox.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080316/SPT04/803160438

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 11:19 AM
Longtime Reds fan making his case
Utilityman Green swinging a hot spring bat
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

SARASOTA, Fla. - Two things attracted Andy Green to the Reds: Opportunity and the fact he grew up in Lexington as a huge Reds fan.

To make the most of any opportunity, you have to play well. It's safe to say that Green could not have played much better so far.

He went into Saturday hitting .360 with a .500 on-base percentage and .840 slugging percentage. He leads the team with six doubles and is tied for the lead with two home runs.

"You come into camp in the position I'm in and you just want to show that you know what you're doing on the field," Green said. "Hitting is something where you get hot and other times you're not as hot. I'm happy with the adjustments I've made after the first couple of weeks when I wasn't hitting the ball as well. I feel confident with where I'm at. (Hitting coach Brook Jacoby) has helped me out a lot with some things."

Green, a 30-year-old infielder, is competing for a utility position with Jolbert Cabrera, Drew Anderson, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Andy Phillips.

Besides swinging a hot bat, Green looks like a player. He's made all the plays defensively - at second base, third base and in the outfield. He runs well, and he's always in the right place.

Green decided Cincinnati was the right place for him early in the free-agent season. He signed a minor-league contract with the Reds on Dec. 24.

Green came up in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. He was a 24th-round draft choice out of the University of Kentucky, where he was an academic All-American in 2000.

He got his first time in the majors in 2004, hitting .202 in 46 games.

His breakout year in the minors came in 2005. He hit .343 at Triple-A Tucson and led the Pacific Coast League in runs (125), hits (182), doubles (46) and triples (13). He was named the PCL MVP.

He spent all of 2006 on the Diamondbacks roster. But he got only 73 at-bats and hit just .186.

"I had very limited opportunity," Green said. "If you know anything about Arizona's farm system, they just have a slew of young talent coming up - very talented players."

Green spent last season with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.

"I took an opportunity to go to Japan to secure my family's financial status," he said. "It was a very good financial opportunity."

Things didn't work out so well on the field. Green spent most of the year injured - first with back spasms and then with a torn ligament in his thumb.

"I was ready at the end of June," Green said. "But they chose not to activate me."

Green's plan was to return to the U.S. to play in 2008, anyway.

"The other plus side of that, in my mind, was I'd be a free agent when I came back," he said. "I'd be able to pick and choose my opportunity. Whereas in Arizona, I was buried beneath a slew of guys."

The way Green is playing, he'll probably get a chance with the Reds - the team he grew up hoping to play for someday.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I was a huge Dave Concepcion fan. I can remember driving up I-75 countless times to watch the Reds play. There was a draw to this organization that was stronger than any other one."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080316/SPT04/803160437

Tom Servo
03-16-2008, 12:07 PM
Stanton sure has earned that guranteed bullpen spot :bang:

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 12:56 PM
My bullpen would look like this:

Francisco Cordero
Jared Burton
Josh Roenicke
Bill Bray
David Weathers
Jeremy Affeldt

Todd Coffey, Brad Salmon, and Marcus McBeth would compete for the final spot in the bullpen. Right now all three are pitching good and making a case to make the major league team.

PuffyPig
03-16-2008, 12:57 PM
Pitching jobs still up for grabs
Only six of 12 spots appear to be locks
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM


Right now, only six of the 12 or 13 spots are locks. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo will be in the rotation. Francisco Cordero, David Weathers, Jared Burton and Mike Stanton will be in the bullpen.


Affeldt will be on the team as a reliever if he doesn't make the rotation. The same might be true of Belisle and Volquez.


http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080316/SPT04/803160438

Since Affeldt will make the team as a reliever if he doesn't start, I'd suggest he should also be listed as a lock, as are likely Belisle and Volquez.

Far East
03-16-2008, 01:44 PM
Of the pitchers mentioned in the article as possible bullpen guys, here is a look at what they have done so far this spring. Not many innings, but here is their WHIP:


Coffey: 0.25

Bray : 0.50

McBeth: 0.71

Stanton: 0.80

Weathers: 1.00

Lincoln : 1.15

Salmon : 1.20

Mercker : 1.25

Pettyjon : 1.88

Burton : 2.00

Majewski : 2.00

Coutl'ngs : 2.14

Affeldt : 2.14

Belisle : 2.20

Brower : 2.25

Shearn : 2.31

Sauerbk : 3.75

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 01:49 PM
With Roenicke being shipped to AAA, two of Coffey/McBeth/Salmon should make the team IMO.

Kc61
03-16-2008, 01:53 PM
With Roenicke being shipped to AAA, two of Coffey/McBeth/Salmon should make the team IMO.


Funny, I think one or none of them will make it.

Reds will carry 7 relievers. Three righties are in -- Burton, Weathers, Cordero.

Three lefties are in -- Stanton, Bray, Affeldt.

Room for one more. My guess is that it will be Belisle, if he doesn't make the rotation. If not, maybe Coffey, who can work multiple innings.

How do you figure two of Coffey, McBeth and Salmon make it? Where's the room?

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 02:05 PM
Read my post above.

My bullpen wouldn't involve Majewski and Stanton, which would leave room for two of Coffey, McBeth, and Salmon.

Steve4192
03-16-2008, 02:47 PM
While I was no fan of the Stanton signing, it's not like he pitched himself out of a job this spring.

Yes, he sucked last year. But with the exception of the truly elite, every bullpen guy in the majors seems to yo-yo between good and bad years. Stanton was more than adequate with the Nationals in 2005 and the Giants in 2006.

Best case scenario, the Reds get the good Mike for three or four months this year and then flip him for a decent prospect? Wost case scenario, he sucks again and the Reds cut bait to bring up one of the kids. Either way, the Reds season does not hinge on who the choose to play the role of LOOGY.