Nothing like forgetting to set your alarm to drop a jolt into your morning. I woke up at 7:15am on my own. I usually pick up fellow writer Hal McCoy to ride over to the complex at 7:30. So I had to cut some corners to get going but we still made it on time.
And because of that, here is your daily roughage of Reds news:
After a lousy 2008 where he was cut from two teams, outfielder Jacque Jones is hungry to prove himself. He got laser eye surgery and played winter ball in Mexico to find his stroke. He hit well down there.
“I wasn’t under contract with anybody. No one told me to go anywhere,” Jones said of winter ball. “I knew what I needed to do to play the game. I’ve never needed anyone to send me in the right direction for things I needed to do. I know what it takes.”
Jones is only 33 years old, which to manager Dusty Baker, means there should be plenty left.
“Jacque can play,” Baker said. “He can play all three outfield positions. He can run. He hustles. He had a down year last year just like [Jonny] Gomes. But they have some track record of excellence. Just because you fall down for a while doesn’t mean you’re through, especially at the ages of those guys.”
More on that on MLB.com/Reds.com later Sunday. In other news:
Baker said he hasn’t decided if SS Alex Gonzalez will play in the first exhibition game on Wednesday. Gonzalez is still doing well but the club is taking it easy with him as I wrote yesterday. During the season, the manager said Gonzalez would likely hit seventh or eighth because there is too much running on his left knee needed for him to bat second.
It’s possible that catcher Ramon Hernandez could get some time at first base to spell Joey Votto against a tough lefty. It would also open up some chances for backup Ryan Hanigan.
Non-roster catcher Humberto Cota finally straightened out his visa issues and reported to camp. It will be a short stay since Cota is expected to leave to play for Mexico in the WBC.
The Dominican Republic classic squad asked the Reds on Saturday for the services of pitching prospect Pedro Viola.
The Reds will have enough pitching for Tuesday’s intrasquad game to last five innings.
Between now and Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener at the Rays, Baker still has some things he’d like to get done — namely sliding drills.
“You probably get more injuries sliding than any other thing,” he said. “We have cut-off relays, pop-ups. You never get everything in because there are not enough days before the games. You try to get the most important stuff done early and add on as you play the games.”
Also highlighted was a comparison between the current camp location and the future one in Goodyear, Ariz.
“One drawback with Florida vs. Arizona is teams out there are so close that you can do a lot of your fundamentals and take your batting practice before you go [to road games],” Baker said. “You just go play the game. Here with the length of some of the trips, you’re lucky to have batting practice at their park. That’s about it. You do your work only at home games. Arizona, you work every day, home or road.”
And in the ”they said it” department: Pitchers and infielders were working on situational stuff on a practice field. After Francisco Cordero was given a runner on first, two-out scenario, David Weathers was handed a runner on second with nobody out.
“You think that’s a sign of things to come?” joked Weathers.