Belisle 'fired up' for '08 season
Reds pitcher loves the addition of Baker and Cordero; says it's 'time to stop the losing.'
By Hal McCoy
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Matt Belisle, in his words, "is fired up" for several reasons.
He is fired up about the number of zeros on his new Cincinnati Reds contract, which pays him $1.2 million.
He is fired up about his new manager, Dusty Baker, who called him a few days ago, "And that was awesome, because I've never had a manager call me before."
He is fired up because, "With Francisco Cordero on the back end, our bullpen is going to be so much better."
He is fired up because, "I'm getting better and better, and I've learned to leave out the stuff I don't need and leave in what works."
And he is fired up because, "All the teammates I've talked to are fired up, and we believe we can win, stop all this losing — and we know it is about time to stop the losing."
Baker and General Manager Wayne Krivsky both say a spot in the rotation, probably No. 3 or No. 4, is Belisle's spot to lose in spring training, but to Belisle that's a negative attitude, and he says, "It is my spot to win. I take nothing for granted."
And he shouldn't. With an 8-9 record and a 5.32 earned-run average in 30 starts last year, his name won't be found in any preseason evaluations as a possible Cy Young Award winner.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound right-hander from Austin, Texas, said, "I'm not concerned about what spot I'm in in the rotation. I just know I'm getting better, and that's all I want right now — that and consistency. Every player wants consistency, and I haven't had it, and it's what I need."
Belisle said he had a long chat with pitching coach Dick Pole after last season, and the word used was consistency.
Belisle believes it is all going to start with Baker.
"We have Dusty at the front of the ship, a good team on the field, Cordero at the end of the bullpen," Belisle said. "I'm just totally fired up. Let's get started now."
Reds ink two veterans
On Friday, the Reds signed catcher Paul Bako and left-handed relief pitcher Scott Sauerbeck to minor-league camp with invitations to the big-league camp.
Bako was originally signed by the Reds as a No. 5 draft pick in 1993 and played 50 games with Baltimore last season after spending time with Detroit, Houston, Florida, Atlanta, Milwaukee, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City during his 10 seasons.
Sauerbeck, a Cincinnati native, graduated from Northwest High School and Miami University. He pitched in the minors last season, but in seven major-league seasons he has a 3.82 ERA in 471 relief appearances for Pittsburgh, Boston, Cleveland and Oakland.
Sauerbeck will compete with Mike Stanton, Bill Bray and Jon Coutlangus for left-handed bullpen spots, along with Jeremy Affeldt if his experiment as a starter blows up.