In Cincinnati camp, it's good to be a Homer
By Hal McCoy
Dayton Daily News
FORT MYERS, Fla. | Right now, he is a Homer getting as much attention as the Homer of The Iliad fame or Homer Simpson.
As is most everybody in camp, manager Jerry Narron is awed by pitcher Homer Bailey, even after he gave up five runs (two earned) and six hits in 1 2/3 innings Monday against the Twins.
"We made an error or he would have got out of trouble," said Narron of the Reds' No. 1 draft pick in 2004 who pitched last season for the Class A Dayton Dragons.
"He is always going to have a high pitch count because batters can't center the bat on his pitches and foul off a lot them," said Narron. "He sure doesn't look or act like he's 19, does he?"
Bailey probably will make another appearance Friday for the Reds, then be sent to minor-league camp. He is expected to start the season at high Class A Sarasota, where club officials hope he will dominate and get confidence, then get a quick promotion to Class AA Chattanooga.
On Cruz control
Jacob Cruz missed a couple of games with a tender hamstring, then pinch-hit Monday night against the Twins. He was hit on the right knee by a pitch and couldn't run.
So he was missing in action Tuesday, unable to perform as a designated hitter against the Boston Red Sox.
"Just when I was ready to get him back out there, he gets popped," said manager Jerry Narron.
Scott Hatteberg, a former Red Sox, hit a three-run first-inning home run against former teammate Bronson Arroyo Tuesday.
Hatteberg not only isn't your average athlete, he isn't your average person. He is knowledgable about the arts, particularly literature and music.
"Read The Brothers K by David James Duncan," he said. A quality read. Check it out, you'll love it."
The Brothers K is an adaptation of Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.
The Bomb Squad
Manager Jerry Narron calls the guys fighting for the last two roster spots his Bomb Squad and said, "Those guys are playing better than anybody, giving us lots of competition for the last two roster spots."
He was referring to outfielders Andy Abad (.300), Quinton McCracken (.400), Brian Buchanan (.500 and a home Tuesday against the Red Sox) and DeWayne Wise (.444).
"Wise is a non-roster guy who had done everything possible, everyone one needs to do, for a non-roster player to make this team," said Narron. "Abad (10 years in the Red Sox organization) has had some real good at-bats (including his first home run of the spring Tuesday against the Red Sox) and Tuffy Rhodes (.286) has given us some good at-bats. These guys have been our best players."
Pitcher Eric Milton's strained right calf passed a simulated game test Sunday, but he didn't have to run to cover first base, field bunts or back-up bases.
Even though the Reds play two games Friday, split-squad appearances at Bradenton against Pittsburgh and Orlando against Atlanta, where a lot pitchers will be needed, Milton won't be one of them.
"He'll throw another simulated game at the complex where we can control what he does," said Narron.
General manager Wayne Krivsky is unconcerned at this point and said, "He'll have at least three starts before we break camp and that should be enough."
Harang is/on target
Aaron Harang's shoulder passed its test Tuesday, but now it is his right hip that stings. Harang missed his Thursday start with shoulder inflammation, but pitched two scoreless (one hit) innings against the Red Sox.
The last out of his first inning came when Manny Ramirez ripped a line drive off his right hip. He fielded it and threw out Ramirez.
"The adrenaline was flowing so I didn't feel it at the time, but it stung later and I have a nice red autograhped (from Bud Selig's signature on the ball) spot. I'm going to ice it down."
Harang threw 30 pitches, then 30 more in the bullpen and said with three or four more spring starts he is on target for Opening day, if he can avoid line drives.