Article on Yonder Alonso
Alonso taking his spring training seriously
By Hal McCoy
Saturday, February 28, 2009
FORT MYERS, FLA. — If you don't like Yonder Alonso, you don't like M&Ms. Or Oreos.
As the No. 1 draft choice last June by the Cincinnati Reds, a kid with a major-league contract, he could be a heavy ego load.
Far from it.
At dawn's early light, before the sun peeks over Ed Smith Stadium, Alonso walks into the clubhouse, usually around 6:30, the first player there, every morning.
"I want them to know how serious I am, how much I want to be part of this," said Alonso.
Then he slips into his uniform and heads for a back field for extra infield practice or batting practice.
Instead of swaggering around as if he owns the place, Alonso watches and learns and asks — especially Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
"They've been through this spring training process a few times and it isn't their first rodeo," he said.
Alonso knows he is destined for the minor-league camp when cuts begin, but he savors every moment of dressing with and playing with the big boys.
"This is huge, man, and any kid dreams of doing something like this. Coming from where I come from (Havana, Cuba), not too many get this chance. Every day I soak it up and every day I thank God for being here."
His first game action was a nightmare — an error at first base that led to five runs and 0 for 2 at the plate with a strikeout.
Alonso laughs about it and says, "It is crazy to say, but almost all my first games are shoddy."
In high school he struck out three times in his first game. In college at Miami he came up three times with the bases loaded and all three times hit checked-swing grounders.
"They were booing me, but it all came out pretty good at the end," he said.
He was feeling low after his error this week, but his spirits lifted when manager Dusty Baker called him aside to tell him about his first exhibition game — a throwing error from left field that crashed 50 feet up on the backstop.
"I was done, really sad, but when he told me that I was relieved," said Alonso. "That really pumped me up."
Said Baker, 'I know how bad this kid wants it. And he'll get it."
Re: Article on Yonder Alonso
This just in- people allergic to chocolate don't like Yonder Alonso.
Good piece though. I like his attitude
Re: Article on Yonder Alonso
Alonso's a growing Reds' wonder
Playing against his idol, rookie picks up first spring hit
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- It was no coincidence that Yonder Alonso got his first start of spring vs. the Yankees on Sunday, especially since some guy named Alex Rodriguez was in New York's starting lineup.
Alonso is close friends and a protégé of Rodriguez, a fellow resident of Miami. They also worked out together in the offseason.
"That's one reason I'm playing Yonder today," Reds manager Dusty Baker said before the game. "He's DHing, so A-Rod can see him play."
"It's going to be nice. I can't wait," Alonso said before the game.
Rodriguez, along with Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, were among the regular Yankees starting before departing for the World Baseball Classic.
Alonso fared OK, as he went 1-for-2 with a second-inning leadoff double to left-center field in the Reds' 13-11 win over the Yankees. It was his only hit in five spring at-bats over two games.
The Reds' first-round Draft pick in 2008, the 21-year-old Alonso speaks frequently on the phone with Rodriguez -- even during his idol's high-profile steroid scandal.
"He taught me his work ethic, and what work is all about and what work can do for you and how you can become a good player," said Alonso, who starred at the University of Miami.
Because he signed a five-year, $4.55 million Major League contract, with a $2 million signing bonus, Alonso's first Spring Training is in big league camp.
"This is the best experience of my playing career," he said.
Alonso's first game on Thursday vs. the Twins included a mishap when the first baseman flubbed a slow roller up the line for a two-out error that scored a run. On the next play, a grand slam turned it into a five-run mistake.
"It was a squibber, and that thing was spinning," Alonso said. "That's a really tough play, because it can go anywhere. You have to more or less go after it. I kind of stayed back a little on it and let it play me instead of me playing it. It happens. You have to move on."
All indications are that Alonso will begin this season at Double-A Carolina. He fared well against that caliber of competition in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League, and he should get some more exposure at first base while starter Joey Votto is playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
"Maybe with Joey leaving, I will get to play a little more. It will be fun," Alonso said. "I'm working on everything, trying to improve and become a better player overall."
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