By Marc Katz
DAYTON — Nearly 100 players in the Cincinnati Reds' minor league system played at some point for the Class A Dayton Dragons, and many of them will return to Fifth Third Field on Saturday, April 4, for a unique organizational Futures game to be played against the parent Reds.
The game will be played in the afternoon, but no time has been set as yet.
This morning, Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty and farm director Terry Reynolds are to outline the details of the game at a Fifth Third Field media conference.
Although the Reds won't know until the final week of spring training which players will be in Dayton, they'll want to highlight some of their better prospects, such as Todd Frazier, Drew Stubbs, Juan Francisco, Chris Valaika, Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco.
Dragons fans might also be interested in first baseman Yonder Alonso, who was the Reds' first-round draft choice last season but signed too late to be assigned here. Instead, Alonso was sent to Sarasota for post-draft workouts and eventually played in a few games with the high Class A Reds team there.
It is unlikely the Reds will assign Alonso to the Dragons for this season.
Dragons President Bob Murphy said the idea of a Futures game grew out of an end-of-season meeting with the Reds discussing how the Reds could better market themselves in the Dayton area and beyond.
Murphy said it would also be good for the Dragons' organization.
"I want to bring really cool events to the city of Dayton," Murphy said. "This will be great for our loyal fans. It will be a big deal. We're going to have special uniforms and commemorative gifts. Nothing like this has been done before."
The Reds like the idea so much, they're going to hold a similar game the day before, on April 3, at their new Class AA site in North Carolina. A major difference will be, none of the players will have come up through the Carolina team.
The Reds also should have plenty of former Dragons on their roster. During this past season, 13 made the club at one point, although at least two of them — outfielder Adam Dunn and pitcher Todd Coffey — won't be back. Dunn is now with the Diamondbacks and Coffey with the Brewers.
Other former Dragons who played for the Reds this season were Chris Dickerson, Joey Votto, Ryan Hanigan, Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Rosales, Paul Janish, Homer Bailey, Ramon Ramirez, Johnny Cueto and Daryl Thompson.