Two lines of particular interest in that interview:
Krivsky: Nothing will be handed to Encarnacion this spring. however, going into camp - we are looking for him to play well and continue to improve. Aurilia is a quality veteran who still has a lot of game left in him. It will be up to Jerry Narron to decide how he is best utilized... either in a starting position or utility role.
Krivsky: My philosophy is one where there is always room for quality veteran type leadership. I know Jerry shares the same idea, particularly as it pertains to his bench. Younger players have a difficult transition coming off the bench when they are used to playing everyday in the minors. In many cases, it is better for that younger player to play every day in AAA to get his neccesary work and development time.
This seems to indicate, to me, that Encarnacion will either start at 3B or go to AAA to play every day. Given his performance in AAA last year (0.936 OPS, 0.388 OBP, 15 HR in 290 AB's), it would seem he has little to prove there, which makes me think that the Reds are really gunning for him to be the starting 3B.
...which makes me think that all the talk about him having to prove himself in spring training is just designed to push him and get him perform at the highest level he can. The logic might be that if they told him right now that the job was his, perhaps he wouldn't work as hard coming into spring training and during spring training to win this position. If he works hard and legitimately wins this position in the spring, they can stick with him all season despite any troubles he has.
Ultimately though, this decision shouldn't be made based on a handful of at bats this spring. His AAA performance last year should earn him at least a half-year of playing time at 3rd this year, if not the full year. We're not going to win this year anyway, so we might as well plug him in there and see what he can do at the major league level. I'd bet he can pull off at least a 0.800 OPS in a full year of playing time. And Aurilia hasn't done that since his amazing year in '01 with the Giants.