Bench: Reds have potential, bright future
Hall-of-famer sees improvement in the pitching rotation and also position players, like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
By Kyle Nagel
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Several years ago, the Cincinnati Reds invited Johnny Bench to watch a workout featuring potential draft picks. One player stood out.
"I noticed Joey Votto right away," said Bench, the legendary Reds catcher. "I said, 'There's a kid who has a swing, don't bypass him.' ''
The Reds didn't, and now first baseman Votto is part of a group of young players Bench identified as leading a promising future for the organization that has not had a winning season since 2000. Bench talked about the Reds and his optimism regarding owner Bob Castellini while discussing his new book Catch Every Ball, which brings together lessons Bench has compiled from his years of motivational speaking.
Bench's book comes out at a time when the Reds need motivation, as they stand 50-53. But Bench said things are looking up for the Reds, particularly in their pitching staff.
"We usually just have two pitchers and then say, 'What are we gonna do with 3, 4, 5?' '' Bench said. "Now we have the addition of (Johnny) Cueto and (Edinson) Volquez, and now Bronson's (Arroyo) throwing better."
With a lineup that includes Votto and Jay Bruce, Bench said he sees good things coming from the position players, as well.
"I told them it hasn't been a great first half," Bench said. "I told them when I was in a slump, if I was hitting .220, then in the next 100 at-bats I would plan to get 35 or 40 hits. I didn't think of it as I need to bring .220 up, that's already gone. You have to try to hit .320 or .350 in the next 100 at-bats. I was looking forward. That's the positive way you have to approach things."