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.