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Thread: Reds Spring Training notebook

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  1. #1
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Jun 2004

    Reds Spring Training notebook

    Reds notebook
    Stanton mum, but Mercker says Mitchell Report on him correct

    SARASOTA, Fla. - The Reds have two players in camp who were mentioned in the Mitchell Report: left-handers Kent Mercker and Mike Stanton.

    Stanton won't talk about the report. "I've been advised by counsel not to," he said.

    Mercker, who was accused of using human growth hormone in 2002, said what's in the report is accurate.

    "It didn't help me throw harder or anything like that," he said.

    Mercker, 40, is back after not pitching at all in 2007. He had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2006 and barely threw in his time off.

    "I tossed with my oldest daughter," he said. "She plays softball. But I didn't really throw."

    Mercker decided to give it a go in mid-December.

    "I wasn't surprised that my elbow felt good," he said. "But I was surprised how good my shoulder felt."

    Mercker is confident he can make the club.

    "If I'm healthy, I think I will," he said. "It's not like I'm going to forget how to throw my slider."

    If Mercker doesn't make the club, he'll probably go home to Dublin, Ohio.

    "If I'm throwing well and I turn my ankle or something, I'd be willing to go to the minors to get ready," he said. "But it's not like I'm going to need to go down there and work on things."

    BRUCE ON BRUCE: Outfielder Jay Bruce has been in camp almost a week. His goal is to make the club.

    "Absolutely, no doubt about it," he said. "That's been my goal. I want to show them what I can do and make them make a call."

    Bruce was named Baseball America's minor-league player of the year - the first Red to win that honor.

    SLIM, TRIM COFFEY: Todd Coffey's goal was to lose 24 pounds in the offseason.

    "I wanted to go from 264 to 240," he said. "I beat that by a pound. I weigh 239."

    Coffey says he's seen the results in that he's throwing better.

    Coffey, 27, struggled last year, going 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA. His ERA was more than two runs higher than the 3.58 mark he put up the year before.

    CROWDED HOUSE: Thirty-five of the 62 players invited to camp had reported by early Friday afternoon. Pitchers and catchers have to report by today.

    All 41 pitchers and catchers are expected to report on time.


  2. #2
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Oh, that first day!

    By Hal McCoy | Saturday, February 16, 2008, 02:30 PM
    Latest comment

    Sorry about the sunburn, but you’re right you should know better. I hope you heal quickly.

    After 36 years, one would think an old-timer would know better. Yeah, right.

    After 36 years of covering spring training, one would think one would know better than to argue with the sun after a winter of hibernation that leaves one so white it looks as if he spent the winter painting closets (As Marty Brennaman would say).

    But with minimal sleep the night before to catch a 6 a.m. flight Friday, it was a tired scribe who arrived in Sarasota. With the sun bathing the Siesta Key sand, why not an hour or so of tanning? Read a book.

    One chapter into the book, I fell asleep. For two hours. Now my knees are singed like fried scallops and my face is as red as if I got caught telling an off-color joke in church.

    But it’s the first day of spring training and it’s off to camp, where everybody is happy. No pressure yet. No games. Just boring exercises and drills.

    Pitcher Kent Mercker, 40, a late signee trying to make the Reds for his fourth different tenure, arrived at camp at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m. he walked by and said, “Hey, I’m still here. Been here two hours and nobody told me to pack and go home. I even saw the General Manager - and I’m still here.”

    Adam Dunn and his son, Brady, walked into camp for a brief pit stop. “Just here to make sure all my stuff got here,” he said. “I’m off to Daytona to watch the Daytona 500. I’ve never been there in person. I’m pumped.”

    Manager Dusty Baker arrived Friday and was pleased to learn that Ken Griffey Jr. was not only in camp Friday but was on the field chasing fly balls.

    Baker admits he is still learning his players, so he can be forgiven for one faux pas at his first media chat Saturday. When referring to Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, he called him Homer Bush, a former New York Yankees infielder. He’ll not only learn Bailey’s name in a hurry, he’ll learn all about what Bailey is about on a pitcher’s mound.

    Griffey, of course, owns the longest tenure of anybody on the roster. Can you guess the next three? OK, so don’t guess. The answer: Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel, Aaron Harang.

    Baker is looking for leadership and while he wouldn’t admit it publicly he may be searching for it from Griffey, with whom he talked on the phone a few times this winter. Baker also talked to Hank Aaron recently and was piqued by what Aaron said.

    “There is a lot with Junior that people haven’t tapped,” said Baker. “When you’ve been in the game 20 years, in the big leagues since you were 19, you know what you’re doing and what you’ve done and what’s going on. You might not always say it, but there is a lot there.

    “I talked to Hank Aaron the other day,” Baker added. “Hank and Junior are on the board together of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Hank said what a pleasure it was for him to be around Junior. He said you could tell what kind of guy Junior was - a family man and all that.

    “Hank doesn’t give compliments very often,” Baker added. “So that meant a lot to me. He has met most of the superstars of the game and this is the first time he raved about meeting one, ever to me. Hank doesn’t talk too much, but he talked quite a bit about Junior and that really impressed me.”


  3. #3
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.


  4. #4
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Here it is for those too lazy to open the link. Very nice piece. I was totally against the Dusty Baker hiring at first but I have come around on him lately. He's a great motivator - he could push this team beyond expectations this season.

    Baker excited to be back calling the shots again

    By Jayson Stark

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- The new manager of the Cincinnati Reds is never going to be confused with John McNamara. Or Jack McKeon. Or even Sparky Anderson, for that matter.

    We say this for many, many reasons. But we say it primarily because the new manager of the Cincinnati Reds -- a former ESPN employee you might have heard of, a guy by the name of Dusty Baker -- is a man who uses expressions like this:

    "What's up, big daddy?"

    It's hard to think of any set of circumstances that would ever have caused, say, Vern Rapp to utter those words. Or Dave Miley. Or, most certainly, Russ Nixon.

    But those words spilled out of Dusty Baker's mouth Saturday as routinely as "one day at a time" spills out of the mouths of most managers. Those words were just Dusty Baker's way of saying hello to his new players. No more. No less. Just hello -- in Dusty-ese.

    "That," laughed his new first baseman, Scott Hatteberg, "is why there's only one of him."

    Yeah, there's only one Dusty Baker, all right. But what the heck is he doing here? That's the question.

    Yes, what the heck is this man doing managing in Cincinnati, Ohio -- a town located 2,000 miles from his home in Northern California, a town that ranks as America's 34th largest media market, a town where the local baseball team hasn't had a winning season since Jack McKeon exited the city limits eight years (and five managers) ago?

    Fascinating question. One of the most fascinating questions of Spring Training 2008, actually. But for Dusty Baker, it's an easy answer.

    "Hey," he said Saturday, the day his pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, "this is where I'm supposed to be."

    Baker came to that conclusion last October, after much thought, reflection and conversation with people whose judgment he trusted. Men like Joe Morgan. And former Warriors coach Al Attles. And Cito Gaston. Baker even reached deep into his memory bank to recall a conversation he once had with the late, great Bill Walsh about Cincinnati.

    The Reds wanted him. And after thinking about it, Dusty Baker realized he wanted them, too. Needed them. Needed them to complete the "unfinished business" in his 14-year managerial career.

    "I need to satisfy what's inside me," Baker said Saturday, in that deep, almost evangelical tone that also can spill out of his mouth at any given moment. "Which is a couple of championships. I can't go home losing. Anybody who knows me [knows] I don't take losing too kindly. I can't go home not winning again."

    There's a whole lot of winning on Dusty Baker's resume, too: Four playoff teams as a manager. Four more as a player. A .527 managerial winning percentage that includes eight straight winning seasons at one point. Three trips to the World Series as a player. One more (with the 2002 Giants) as a manager.

    But we know how that 2002 World Series ended. No need to rummage through that attic. We also know how the 2003 National League Championship Series ended, after a 3-games-to-1 Cubs lead somehow morphed into Steve Bartman's worst nightmare.

    There may not be a manager in history who endured back-to-back Octobers any more painful than those two. But when Baker was asked Saturday if he was driven by what happened those Octobers, he shook his head.

    He has moved past that pain, he said, "just by thinking, studying, being thankful for life and thankful for what you have had, versus what you didn't get. Or what you haven't had yet. How long can you live in pain? You do that, that's not living. So just go forward. ...

    "You can't live in the past," Baker went on, at his philosopher-king best. "You've got to live today, be prepared for tomorrow and hopefully you learn if you ever get in that situation again. And sometimes, it wasn't meant to be, you know? And you realize everything isn't necessarily in your control, in your power, like you think it is."

    He is 58 years old now. And he has learned those profound lessons of life and baseball -- lessons that have brought him to this time, this place, this franchise.

    He was a popular, almost revered figure in San Francisco, his first managerial stop. But he was a controversial, often polarizing figure in Chicago, his most recent dugout address.

    As the years wore on and the reality of what happened to the Cubbies in 2003 set in, life in Chicago turned into one big Dusty-bashing mess. The Bartman Collapse. The throbbing arms of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The descent of the Cubs to losingest-team-in-the-league depths of 2006. It became All Dusty's Fault. All of it. Sometimes with reason. Sometimes, however, because that was convenient, one-stop excuse shopping.

    For a long time afterward, Baker spoke openly about the "wounds" that lingered from that experience. But by the time he arrived in spring training Saturday, he was ready to announce that those wounds had healed.

    "The year off helped me," he said. "Helped me realize the game stops for nobody, No. 1. The game is like the clock. It doesn't stop. It stops for no one. The game goes on. You can't carry those wounds around."

    He held up his right hand. Looked at it. Looked at his audience.

    I need to satisfy what's inside me. Which is a couple of championships. I can't go home losing. Anybody who knows me [knows] I don't take losing too kindly. I can't go home not winning again.

    --Dusty Baker

    "I've got wounds on my hand, too, but they healed," he said. "I had operations everywhere, but they healed. I put Vitamin E on them so they don't peel, so I don't even know I've got a scar. I don't put Vitamin E on [those mental wounds]. Just thinking about love and forgiveness. Just asking The Divine to purify my heart."

    That, too, is where ESPN came in. Baker's gig at ESPN gave him a year to chill, to let go, to just be normal. It gave him "reflecting time," he said.

    "I reflected in Montana, fishing," he said. "Fishing in Canada. And turkey-hunting with my son. And that's the hard part of this thing -- saying goodbye to my family, to my son, after being around so much."

    But it's not family time anymore. And it's not reflecting time. It's baseball time. Dusty Baker is ready for that. And the Reds are ready for someone like him.

    After seven straight losing seasons, they hired a man who GM Wayne Krivsky says brings "credibility" to the franchise. And the Reds were searching for someone specifically like that.

    "He's been a successful manager, manager of the year three times," Krivsky said. "He's got a very impressive resume. I think players know that. And word of mouth -- guys that played for him. Word of those things gets around. I think our guys have heard what a great guy he was to play for. And I think that all adds up to credibility."

    It was a mesmerizing sight to watch Baker tour his new locker room Saturday -- pumping hands, wrapping bear hugs, firing off those "What's up, Big Daddys."

    "There's no way," chuckled one of those new troops, super-utility whiz Ryan Freel, "this guy can be this cool."

    But Hatteberg, who actually played for Baker in the Arizona Fall League nearly 15 years ago, said that Baker persona is what makes him what he is.

    "He seems to me almost like a player -- with a bigger office," Hatteberg said. "The way he does it, it's definitely not the norm. No other manager even comes close to that. So to pull it off, you've got to be a certain kind of person. But Dusty just has that natural presence that gives him that built-in respect."

    "Whether you've got a week in or 20 years, he makes it a point to be personal with everybody," said Kent Mercker, who pitched for Baker in Chicago. "He gets to know you, gets to know your family. He'll say, 'How's your wife Julie doing?' It's not just a business relationship. I think he genuinely cares about everyone who's playing for him. And for anyone who knows the way he played, how hard he played, that's no surprise. I think in his mind, he's still a player. But he's in charge."

    Because he still thinks like a player, though, Baker sees qualities in the men in his locker room that other managers sometimes miss. And here's the first significant example of that in Cincinnati:

    Whereas other Reds managers have seemed wary of Ken Griffey Jr., Baker speaks openly of trying to tap Griffey as a "resource." Dusty Baker is a man who prides himself on being able to relate to, and motivate, his biggest stars. And he has already sensed that treating Griffey as someone special is a way to build an important connection.

    "There's a lot there that people haven't tapped," Baker said. "You don't play this game for 20 years, and be in the big leagues at 19, if you don't know what you're doing or what you've done or what's going on. You may not necessarily say it, but there's a lot there.

    "You know, I talked to Hank Aaron the other day. I guess he and Junior are on the board of the Boys and Girls Club. Hank said what a pleasure it was for him to be around Junior and his wife, and he could tell what kind of guy he was. Hank doesn't give compliments like that very often. So that meant a lot to me. He's met most of the superstars in the game, and this is the first time he's really raved about meeting one."

    Heaping praise on Griffey won't, in and of itself, keep him healthy or make him play like he was 24 years old again. But having a feel for when and how to deliver that praise is as big a part of managing as filling out any lineup card. And once again Saturday, Dusty Baker reminded us that, whatever issues we might have had with how he ran any given baseball game, his feel for the human beings is as good as it gets.

    So that is what he's doing here.

    Because he still has that fire to relate and motivate. Because he still remembers the spectacular, passionate, red-shirted baseball town Cincinnati used to be once upon a time. And because fishing in Montana, and talking into a microphone, isn't what he was meant to do -- or be.

    "This was something I needed to do," said Dusty Baker. "I had a great time at ESPN. I loved the time at home with my family. I just wasn't quite ready to do that forever. There are a few things that I still need to do."

  5. #5
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Here it is for those too lazy to open the link. Very nice piece. I was totally against the Dusty Baker hiring at first but I have come around on him lately. He's a great motivator - he could push this team beyond expectations this season.
    So was I, but that was based more on the reputation that I think he falsely has to some degree.....sure, he has his flaws, but who doesn't?

    Once you look up the facts, it looks like a good choice...

  6. #6
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    BTW if you click on that link that Chip provided, there is a video of Jayson Stark talking with Wayne Krivsky and Dusty Baker but toward the end they start talking about Jay Bruce and they show a few clips of him taking batting practice and shagging flyballs.

  7. #7
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    An optimistic Baker is hoping to revive rosy days in Cincinnati
    Pitchers and catchers report today as spring training begins under the Reds new manager.

    By Hal McCoy

    Staff Writer

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    SARASOTA, Fla. — Dusty Baker sat under a small roof-only tent anchored into the grass between the media workroom and the Pete Rose batting cages Saturday, Feb. 16, at Ed Smith Stadium and before the cameras rolled he said, "Let me cover the coffee stains on my shirt before we begin."

    It was Baker's first spring training appearance as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

    The coffee stain was easy. Removing the stains of seven straight losing seasons in Cincinnati won't be that easy and Baker knows it.

    "I remember coming to Cincinnati in the 1970s and everything was in red — red in the windows, red dresses on the women, red hats on the men," he said. "I'd love to get back to that. I'd be pleased. That's done with winning and I'd be proud to be part of that. The fans yearn for that, to get back to that."

    Baker realizes he can't do it overnight and can't do it with mirrors.

    "One of the proudest moments of my life was when I was with the Giants in San Francisco and a male nurse told me, 'Dusty, you give us hope.' "

    Baker hopes he gives hope to hopeful fans.

    "I run an organized camp," he said. "I like to be organized, to be time efficient. I believe you are there to work. I want the guys to do a steady progression of getting better for the season so we can open the season 100 per cent wide-open — ready physically, emotionally and mentally."

    Official workouts for pitchers and catchers begin this morning and while Baker loves the fact there is water, water everywhere for fishing, the poles and hooks can wait.

    "I'm going to try not to enjoy myself too much," he said. "We have work to do. The game stops for no one. The game is like a clock. It stops for nobody."

    And the clock starts ticking today, Feb. 17.

    "I'm in a learning period because there are a lot of guys I don't know," he said. "Even the guys I do know, I don't know what it takes to get them ready for the season. Which guys are fast starters, which guys need extra reps, which guys I have to slow down because they get stale quickly.

    "I'm relying a lot on the coaches who were here before (Brook Jacoby, Dick Pole, Billy Hatcher, Mark Berry) to help me," Baker added. "That's the reason I kept a lot of the coaches who were here, so I don't have to take that long period to learn about everybody.

    "Spring training is work," he said. "It may be fun for fans, but when you get here early and leave late, it's fun but it's work. I equate spring training as studying for a test. Doing your homework for when the test starts, which is the season. You have to study and you have to get ready."

    There are many questions. Who is the center fielder? Is there enough starting pitching?

    Is the center fielder rookie Jay Bruce, only 20? Is it Ryan Freel, recovered from a season of misery on the disabled list? Is it Norris Hopper, the guy who stepped in last season and dazzled?

    "I've yearned for young players who I can teach (like Bruce)," said Baker. "I don't shy away from nothing. I was a young player once and I was in the big leagues when I was 19 and there to stay when I was 22.

    "What you want, though, is options. Like last year when Freel got hurt. Where would we have been without Hopper? You want tough decisions because that means you have quality people.

    "I can't say who is who and where is where," he said. "People ask me who would start if the season started tomorrow and I answer, but I can't really say. We're not starting tomorrow, so that's not a fair question."

    And the pitching?

    "We have enough people," Baker said with a laugh. "We have some good arms. It is just a matter of how some of them have matured and how some of them have an aptitude for learning and the application of what they learn. You look for a guy who has an aptitude to learn and ability to retain what he is taught and apply it on command."

    In other words, Baker could use some pitching help.

    Baker's one visit to Florida since his playing days in 1983 was last spring, "And it was ironic. I was starting out with ESPN and they sent me to Sarasota to sit in a truck and observe — it was a Reds-Boston game that Dice-K pitched. I had no clue I'd be back within a year as manager."

    Baker only wishes he had a Dice-K included in the Reds' rotation.

    Key spring training dates for the Reds

    Today, Feb. 16: Pitchers and catchers report, take physical exams, then perform in first workout.

    Wednesday, Feb. 20: Position players report, take physical exams, then perform in first workout.

    Feb. 26: Mandatory reporting date for all players who did not report when their teammates were asked to report.

    Feb. 26: Intrasquad game at noon in Ed Smith Stadium.

    Feb. 27: First exhibition game vs. Philadelphia in Clearwater, Fla. (1:05 p.m.)

    Feb. 28: First home exhibition game vs. Minnesota in Ed Smith Stadium (1:05 p.m.)


  8. #8
    Moderator cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt700wlw View Post
    So was I, but that was based more on the reputation that I think he falsely has to some degree.....sure, he has his flaws, but who doesn't?

    Once you look up the facts, it looks like a good choice...
    I have never been opposed to Dusty's hiring. He took the Giants to the World Series and nearly won it and also took the Cubs to the brink of a World Series. The Reds haven't even sniffed the playoffs since 1999. He was the best choice that was available to manage and kudos to Castellini and Krivsky for getting him.
    Thanks for posting these articles! It's a pleasure to read about some baseball after all these months of having to read about the steriod fiasco that's taken place.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

  9. #9
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Now I'm concerned that if the Reds do well people are going to start thinking this was a good hiring...
    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    and buckeye fans only a week and a half away from another embarrassing loss they'll be forever unable to reconcile though one would think they should be well used to the modern buckeye brand.

  10. #10
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post

    Mercker, who was accused of using human growth hormone in 2002, said what's in the report is accurate.

    "It didn't help me throw harder or anything like that," he said.
    Interesting how easily this seemed to defuse the situation.

    Granted it's Kent Mercker who is barely on the ML radar, but a lot of the big stars could learn something from it, i.e. "yeah, I did it, it was a mistake".

    Teach tolerance.

  11. #11
    Legen...dary reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook


    Notes: Healthy Freel out to win job

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- Outfielder Ryan Freel doesn't like sitting still and couldn't wait to get to Reds camp. He's already been around for about 10 days.
    "I'm excited to get going," Freel said. "It's been a long offseason."

    Longer than most.

    Freel had season-ending right knee surgery to repair cartilage damage in August. Add that time lost to the month he missed in the first half because of a concussion from an outfield collision, and the 31-year-old missed a total of 81 games because of injuries.

    The knee rehab Freel did all winter is over, and he is ready to formally begin camp.

    "I'm 100 percent. For the most part, I'm not restricted," Freel said. "I'm not jumping over fences and doing anything stupid. As far as cutting and running, I'm clear to do all of that."

    This should be a pivotal camp for Freel. Last season, he slumped to a .245 average in 75 games and had a career-low .308 on-base percentage. He opened 2007 as the regular center fielder, but now is competing to keep the job against Norris Hopper and Jay Bruce, baseball's best prospect.

    "I don't take anything for granted. I feel like I have to earn the job," Freel said. "I know a lot of people are talking about Jay Bruce. I know a lot of people are talking about Hopper having a great year last year. I was banged up and didn't do what I would have liked to have done, performance-wise.

    "I don't think they know who the center fielder is. I don't think there's a set man there right now. It's a job that's up for grabs."

    Freel, who was signed to a two-year, $7 million contract extension in April, is used to being unsettled. Until last season, he held a super-utility role and manned up to five different positions.

    "I never had a position -- I don't think I do now," he said. "I'd like to play out there [in center field]. I've been a utility guy that plays every day when I'm healthy. I think there's still a utility mark next to my name anyway. It doesn't say 'Ryan Freel, outfielder.' It says 'infielder/outfielder.'"

    Castro improving: Along with Freel, infielder Juan Castro has been granted permission to report early because he is coming back from an injury. Castro had ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow in August.

    "I'm not 100 percent," Castro reported. "I feel 80 percent. My elbow is feeling pretty good and not sore. I have been able to throw without pain."

    Castro was optimistic he could be ready by Opening Day.

    "It all depends on the progress," he said.

    Camp cut-up: Reliever and resident humorist Kent Mercker was back in camp as a non-roster player after he took last year off. Mercker, who had Tommy John surgery in 2006, was signed to a Minor League deal last week for a potential fourth tour of duty with the Reds.

    "I'm still here. They haven't sent me home yet," Mercker joked. "I talked to the general manager and everything."

    Seen and heard: Although there were no formal workouts on the reporting day for pitchers and catchers, there was activity. Hopper and Freel were among those taking swings in the cage. Several pitchers were throwing on the practice field.

    Reliever David Weathers arrived with his 7-year-old son, Ryan. Later, they were on a field, with Ryan taking swings against his father.

    Left fielder Adam Dunn checked in early, with his toddler son, Brady, in tow. It was a brief visit to drop off belongings at his locker.

    "I'm officially here -- now I'm leaving," said Dunn, who planned to take in the Daytona 500 Sunday before returning to camp on Monday.

    Right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. has already been in camp working out but was not seen around on Saturday.

    Power pack time: A 10-game Reds "power pack" ticket package will go on sale at 9 a.m. ET on Feb. 23 on reds.com. The power pack includes tickets to the March 31 Opening Day game vs. the Diamondbacks and admission to weekend three-game series vs. the Indians (May 16-18), Red Sox (June 13-15) and Cubs (Sept. 5-7).

    For more information, go to the ticketing section of reds.com.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    The old Votto is back when he starts cussing himself out between pitches.

  12. #12
    Legen...dary reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Dusty Baker was walking of the field smiling after Sunday’s workout.

    Why so happy?

    “I just realized: Damn, I miss this.”

    When you miss the first pitchers and catchers workout, you’ve got to love baseball. Workout included a lot of PFP (pitchers fielding practice), some pitchers throwing off the mound and little batting practice for the catchers.

    Not exactly highlight reel stuff.

    But it was baseball, under sunny skies, temperatures in the high 70s. A cure for the wintertime blues.

    But Baker was pleased with the way the club looked.

    “Most guys look in good shape,” Baker said. “Which I encourage. There’s not much time between when report and the games start. If you’re not ready when you get here, you’re either going to get passed up or get hurt.”

    The Reds work out again tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    The old Votto is back when he starts cussing himself out between pitches.

  13. #13
    Member Redhook's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    You know what's better than Castro at 100%? Castro at 80%. That makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

    What sucks is I believe he'll find a way onto the roster at some point this year. And if he does, it would tell me the Reds truely don't have the desire to win because it wouldn't take much effort to find a better player to hold down the 25th spot. Cut him now.
    "....the two players I liked watching the most were Barry Larkin and Eric Davis. I was suitably entertained by their effortless skill that I didn't need them crashing into walls like a squirrel on a coke binge." - dsmith421

  14. #14
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Notes: Baker looks for leadoff man
    Veteran free agents Lofton and Patterson among possibilities
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- Leading off for the Reds, Kenny Lofton?

    Lofton is among several free agents still without a team as Major League camps opened for Spring Training. Manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday that he's spoken with Lofton and another veteran center fielder, Corey Patterson.

    "They're both out there looking for a job," Baker said. "We have to see if it fits the budget here and all kinds of stuff."

    Space is also an issue, especially in trying to get Lofton. The Reds' 40-man roster is currently full, leaving only Minor League contracts and non-roster invites available -- unless another move is made to make room.

    "I know Kenny would like a big league contract," Baker said.

    Rumors about Lofton and Cincinnati first surfaced last week. The 41-year-old has played for 11 different teams over a 17-year career, including pennant runs for Baker in 2002 with the Giants and 2003 with the Cubs.

    If Lofton were to be signed to a guaranteed contract, it would likely put a dent in top prospect Jay Bruce's chances of making the club out of camp. Bruce is battling for the center field spot with Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper.

    "We're trying to get best pieces of the puzzle and do what's best for everybody concerned, now and for later," Baker said. "I haven't seen Bruce play. On the other hand, you see [Ken Griffey Jr.] came in at 19. Corey Patterson looked like he was rushed a little bit on to the Cubs and didn't get time to mature.

    "It's like raising your kids -- you don't know if you did it right until later. You hope you did it right. It's something that's very hard to judge -- when is now?"

    Bruce, 20, was the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year and blasted through three levels last season to Triple-A.

    "It's no secret that this guy is a star of the future," Baker said. "He could be a star of the present, who knows? I'm very impressed talking with him, but there's more to baseball than just hitting, too."

    In 136 games with the Rangers and Indians last season, the lefty-hitting Lofton batted a combined .296 with a .367 on-base percentage and 23 stolen bases. He has a career .372 on-base percentage.

    Patterson played for the Cubs from 2000-05 and the Orioles from 2006-07. He batted .269 in 132 games last season, but owns just a career .298 on-base percentage -- not close to being an ideal stat for a leadoff hitter.

    If the Reds don't sign Lofton, Patterson or someone else, Freel and Hopper are both considered capable leadoff hitters. Both have done it for the Reds.

    "That's probably the most unappreciated, hardest-to-find-quality position on a baseball team," Baker said. "You have to have one and they're so hard to find."

    If Bruce wins the regular center field spot, it would leave the Reds without a prototypical leadoff man.

    "He's volunteered [and said] 'Oh, I can bat leadoff, no problem,'" Baker said.

    "I want to help the team by doing anything to make us better," said Bruce, who hasn't batted leadoff since high school. "I'm not a typical leadoff hitter, but if I had to, I would."

    Despite a team loaded with power and home run threats, the 2007 Reds scored 783 runs but gave up 853 -- a differential of 70 runs. Baker believes creating scoring chances is important, and that starts with the leadoff man.

    "I led off in the Minor Leagues -- I know what it's all about, leading off," he said. "The greatest challenge I ever had -- my Triple-A manager, Mickey Vernon, told me to see how many games in a row I could lead off a game getting on base. That's a heck of a challenge. I did it like 16 or 17 times. But it puts that thought process in your mind. It puts the pitcher in the stretch right away."

    Let's get physicals: Before pitchers and catchers could participate in their first workout, they had to take physicals Sunday morning. The process began just past dawn and took several hours.

    Rotation candidate and prospect Homer Bailey was one of those who went through his physical without issue.

    "I wish I could do my own physical," Bailey said. "I want to draw my own blood. In high school, I had [arthroscopic] knee surgery and I told the doctor to just numb it because I wanted to be awake and watch it. Then he held up the big novocaine needle and said, 'Are you sure?' I said 'OK, knock me out for two minutes.' Then I snapped back up after that and watched."

    Working out: All 41 pitchers and catchers participated in the first workout on Sunday afternoon. Still rehabilitating from shoulder surgery, lefty Bobby Livingston was the only pitcher not permitted to throw. Outfielder Ryan Freel and Juan Castro also participated in the first session.

    The approximate two-hour workout featured pitcher fielding drills, bunting practice and bullpen sessions. Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Jeremy Affeldt and Francisco Cordero were among those who worked in the bullpen.


  15. #15
    Legen...dary reds44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    North Carolina

    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Patterson is not a leadoff hitter. I have no idea why the Reds would even consider him. Lofton, yes but Patteron, no way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    The old Votto is back when he starts cussing himself out between pitches.

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