Don't count out Coffey as team's regular closer
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM
SARASOTA, Fla. - Todd Coffey isn't clamoring for another shot at being the Reds' closer.
"I'm clamoring to be in a big-league uniform on April 2," he said. "That's all I care about. Everything else is a plus."
That is not to say Coffey won't take another shot at closing. He'd like one because of how badly his turn in the role went last year.
"If I get another chance, I think I'll be better," he said. "If I get the chance, I get it. I think I'll learn from last year. I was horrible for four weeks last year."
From the start of the season to May 23, Coffey allowed two runs over 27 2/3 innings. That's a 0.65 ERA. He was put in the closer role toward the end of that run. His ERA from May 23 to the All-Star break was 7.85.
"Instead of pitching the way I pitch, I put more pressure on myself," he said. "I tried to do things I can't. I pitched as a totally different person. I put more stress on myself."
Coffey was removed from the closer's role after the trade for Eddie Guardado. He went back to pitching earlier in the game and ended up going 6-7 with a 3.58 ERA and eight saves for the season. His 81 appearances were the most by a Red since Stan Belinda pitched in 84 games in 1997.
Coffey spent as much time as he could soaking up Guardado's wisdom after the trade.
"It's all mental," Coffey said. "I'm glad I did have a bad four weeks, because it's going to make me a better pitcher in the long run. It's a failure to build on."
Coffey has been in Sarasota working with new pitching coach Dick Pole for three weeks.
"We meshed from the first day," Coffey said. "You can't get much higher of a compliment than from Greg Maddux."
Maddux, a legendary ace, called Pole the best pitching coach with whom he has worked.
SHAPING UP: Aaron Harang came to camp thinner. He said he's at 257 pounds after beginning the offseason at 270.
He's still listed at 275 in the media guide.
"I've got to talk to (media relations director) Rob Butcher about that," Harang said.
SLEEP IN: David Ross arrived in camp Saturday. His wife, Hyla, and daughter, Landri, are due in town Wednesday.
"I can get some sleep," he said.
Landri, the couple's first child, was born Feb. 4.
It's a little different for Ross this spring. Last year, he was traded from San Diego to the Reds on March 21 and had to make the club.
This year, he has a new two-year, $4.5 million contract and the No. 1 catcher spot.