Visiting with Mackanin, notes/lineups

Greetings from Clearwater and the Phillies’ spring home at Bright House Field, which is probably the finest stadium you’ll find in the Grapefruit League. (I’m also partial to the Red Sox place in Fort Myers). Sorry for the late morning post but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

Former Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin is now the bench coach for the Phillies and it was nice to see him for a few minutes. Mackanin was great to work with from a media standpoint and more importantly, it was impressive that he led the 2007 team to an above .500 record (41-39) after he took over following a horrible start.

“I’m wearing red again,” Mackanin said before breaking out some dry wit. “I look so good in blue and green but I can’t get away from red. Maybe next time.”

Reds lineup:

Jones CF, Keppinger SS, Bruce RF, Gomes LF, Ward 1B, Alonso DH, Francisco 3B, Hanigan C, Janish 2B

Arroyo – P

Phillies lineup:

Bruntlett SS, Dobbs LF, Werth CF, Howard 1B, Ibanez DH, Jenkins RF, Donald 3B, Cairo 2B, Marson C

Hamels – P

  • Edwin Encarnacion was given another day off to rest a sore left wrist.

“It’s a matter of not having to rush,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s the same thing he had last year which you get from check swinging improperly.”

  • Alex Gonzalez is definitely going to make his debut at shortstop Tuesday vs. the Yankees. 
  • Baker isn’t worried about the slow starts by Jeff Keppinger (.105 in 7 games) or Jacque Jones (.133 in 8 games coming in).






Mark, something that bugs me about these lineups. Why do the Reds, and other teams, continue using the DH? The Reds pitchers have been awful when it comes to hitting and bunting. Why in the world aren’t they working on these things in live games when they don’t count? Everybody can do them in practice but few end up executing during the game.


There are multiple reasons for that. One, it gives a hitter extra ABs and it opens another lineup spot for someone trying to make the team. Also — there is a desire to limit injury risks to pitchers, who are here primarily to pitch. Quite frankly, I don’t think the pennant is won or lost by a .120 hitting pitcher that raises his average to .220 through work at camp. They’re here to get their arms ready for 200 innings.

You will see this change in the second half of spring games when the NL teams will want to get their pitchers exposed to hitting in game situations, especially for the bunting.

I can tell you that Micah Owings is really itching to hit in a game. He doesn’t need as much work on hitting as the others, of course.

I can certainly understand the need to keep pitchers injury free when it comes to hitting and I’m glad you like the Spring Training home of the Red Sox!


That comment about Jones worries me. If Baker isn’t worried about his start it indicates to me that Baker assumes he’ll make the team. I don’t like the fact that guys like Nix and Gomes are in the process of earning their spots, Jones is playing his way out of consideration, and Baker might still be assuming he’s got a spot. (Corey Patterson anyone?)

I sure hope I’m reading too much into this.

You are reading too much into it. I should have put the full quote there but I hadn’t logged it yet. What Baker basically said was that you can’t judge a guy hot or cold/fast or slow starter after only 15 ABs. It will be addressed in a story I write for later on the web site.

Also — I think people have to get over the fear that Jacque Jones is the next Corey Patterson just because he played for Baker on the Cubs — for all of one season. They are two completely different types of players. You’re not the first one to make that comparison. I watched Jones play for five years and if he can still do anything comparable to his years in Minnesota, he can be a bargain find for the Reds.

I agree, Mark, that Jones and Patterson are very different players. However, I’m concerned that Baker does seem enamored with players who used to play well for him. I’m also concerned that they’ll give Jones TONS of chances, even if he continues to stink, just because he used to be good.

I know I’m borrowing trouble, but after the last few years I don’t put anything past this team.

I understand especially since Neifi Perez and Corey Patterson were guys Baker stuck with way, way too long in the past. But I still think Jones is better than those guys, despite his hitting .111 at the moment.

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