Freel's target: 60 steals
SARASOTA, Fla. - Reds utiltyman Ryan Freel has decided he'd like to steal 60 bases this year. He had 36 last season, and he figures if he stays healthy he'll have a shot. Freel missed 39 games on two trips to the disabled list this year.
But the factor that might put him over the top, in his opinion, is Billy Hatcher joining the coaching staff.
"I learned more in 15 minutes of talking to him than I have in 13 years of pro ball," Freel said Monday.
Hatcher, who stole 53 bases in 62 attempts for the Houston Astros in 1987, knows of what he speaks. Freel said the new first base coach already has taught him how to pick up more cues from pitchers rather than rely mostly on instincts - particularly when pitchers go to a slide-step delivery in an effort to thwart the running game.