Reds: LaRue and Valentin are back after combining to connect for 26 homers while catching, which tied them for the Major League lead among backstop combos in 2005. Their 101 RBIs were tops in the league.
All Reds manager Jerry Narron has to do is continue figuring when the best is time to start each catcher. Last year, LaRue started 104 games of his 110 games played behind the plate. Valentin played 76 games, with 58 starts as catcher.
Both players' personal statistics certainly thrived under the 2005 setup. LaRue, who turns 32 in March, established career highs in average (.260), doubles (27) and RBIs (60) while hitting 14 home runs. Valentin's .281 average, 14 homers and 36 runs scored all were career bests.
Beyond those two, Dane Sardinha will have a chance to win a spot on the 25-man roster with a solid Spring Training. Sardinha, a 2000 second-round draft pick, spent the past two seasons at Triple-A Louisville. Miguel Perez, 22, made the sizeable leap from high Class A Sarasota to the Majors last season and is considered a future prospect.