Bailey remains in camp; Womack, Freel compete for second
By Gary Schatz / Special to MLB.com
SARASOTA, FLA. -- The Reds made their second round of roster moves on Monday.
Right-handed pitcher Travis Chick and left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait were optioned to Double-A Chattanooga. Catcher Miguel Perez and first baseman Joey Votto will also start the season with the Lookouts.
Right-handed pitcher Elizardo Ramirez and infielder Ray Olmedo were optioned to Triple-A Louisville, and right-handed pitcher Jimmy Journell and lefty Ben Kozlowski were reassigned to the Minor League camp.
The moves give the Reds 48 players in camp, counting the four players involved with the World Baseball Classic.
Bailey remains: The eight players sent out of camp were not as surprising as a name left off the list.
Homer Bailey, the Reds' first pick in the First-Year Player Draft, remains in the camp.
"It just happens that he is scheduled to pitch tonight, and the day of the split-squad games (March 18) falls so we can keep him on his regular turn," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "Don't read anything into it."
The Minor League camp begins intrasquad games on Wednesday. Bailey most likely will be in the next round of cuts, but he has made a positive impression on nearly everyone. Bailey has not allowed a run in three innings and just one hit.
Second base competition: Veterans Tony Womack and Ryan Freel are still very much alive in the competition for Cincinnati's open second base job with Rich Aurilia in the wings.
Aurilia will be used at all four infield positions, including first base.
"I'll play all three until one guy takes the position every day," manager Jerry Narron said. "Aurilia will play everywhere except first base, and I might get him in there for an inning tonight."
Womack is hitting .350 with seven singles in 20 trips to the plate. He has stolen two bases but has also made two fielding errors.
Freel has just one hit in 24 at-bats, but has played errorless baseball over his nine games. He has also seen time at third base, left field and center field.
Aurilia is hitting .190 but has driven in four runs on four hits. Aurilia has the knack of getting runs home in the clutch.
Six pitchers on the spot: There are few roster spots in the Reds bullpen up for grabs, according to Narron, but five guys are battling for a spot. Veterans Kent Mercker, David Weathers, Chris Hammond and Rick White figure to fill the bullpen at Great American Ball Park.
Todd Coffey, Mike Burns, Jake Robbins, Brian Shackelford, Matt Belisle and Jason Standridge are the main candidates for a spot on the staff that will likely carry 12 pitchers.
"One of the guys who did a good job for us last year could miss making the club," Narron said. "All have pitched well and hopefully they will continue pitching well. Burns, Robbins and Coffey pitched in Clearwater on Sunday against Philadelphia.
Robbins, a 29-year-old, was signed to a Minor League contract on Nov. 10. He didn't crack Cleveland's deep, young bullpen last season but pitched in 49 games at Buffalo and saved 23 games. His ERA was 3.08 in 52 2/3 innings.
He escaped a first and third no-out jam against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, striking out the side.
"He hit his spots," Narron said. "That had to be a confidence builder. You have to consider who he faced, but you still have to hit your spots. He has been a closer in Triple-A, so he has experience at the end of the game."
Robbins has not allowed a run in three games, covering four innings.
Coffey, who is being considered for the closer job, allowed his first run on Sunday.
Burns was claimed off waivers from the Houston roster. He was touched for two home runs, the only runs scored off him in six innings of work.
Belisle, Shackelford and Standridge pitched well for Cincinnati last season. Shackelford's dilemma is that two veterans on the staff are also left-handed -- Hammond and Mercker. The 29-year old converted outfielder has allowed one run in five innings.
"He did a great job last year," Narron said. "What I like about him is he loves to compete."
Belisle was slowed early with the flu but has allowed one run in three innings and has not walked anyone.
Standridge has struggled statistically, allowing four runs in six innings, but two of those were on home runs. Standridge had lapses with control, walking 16 batters in 31 innings after joining the Reds on July 5 last season.
Hello old friends: Former Reds catcher Eddie Taubensee, who caught for the Reds from 1994-2000, was in camp as a member of a conference ministry, Pro Athletes Outreach.
Taubensee, in addition to his work with the ministry, coaches baseball for his three sons in Orlando.
"It's great fun. I coach T-ball for my 6-year-old," said Taubensee, who has been out of baseball for five seasons. "There are no pressures, no parents to deal with, and the kids enjoy it. It's too early to tell if any of my boys have a lot of talent, but they enjoy playing."
Only Ken Griffey Jr. and Jason LaRue are left from Taubensee's stint with the team. The left-handed batting catcher, who also played for Houston and Cleveland, is planning to drop in on the Reds in July when he gives a conference for the Chillicothe Paints in an independent league not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Eric Davis also arrived in camp last night. New Owner Bob Castellini invited several former Reds to help out the coaching staff.
Davis joins George Foster, Tom Browning, Mario Soto and Johnny Bench as guest coaches.
Davis is in business in Los Angeles. He owns a real estate company and a recording studio. He has signed a couple of artists, who will have recordings released to the public and hope to get some air play.
Davis was the star of the 1990 wire-to-wire Reds championship team. His dramatic home run off Oakland ace Dave Stewart set the tone for the Reds' unlikely four-game sweep of the heavily favored Athletics.