Talking to Jones, Volquez, Baker

After Friday’s game, the Reds will be 15 down and 18 to go in the Grapefruit League pre-season. That means we’re about at the point where ‘it’s still early in spring’ or ‘it’s only been 20 at-bats’ no longer suffices. Currently batting .100 (2-for-20) in 11 games entering the night, non-roster outfielder Jacque Jones realizes things have to improve if he wants to be with the team in April.

“You have to do something to get on the team,” Jones said.

“I still feel like I can do it. I’ve been a little too quick. I’m trying to slow the game back down. The confidence is there. That’s not the problem.”

“You have to learn how to play and succeed when you feel like you’re not at your best. When things are going good, everything is OK. But I’m playing and things aren’t going the way you’d like them to go.”

Jones is one of several people trying to get a foothold on the vacancy in left field. Two of the other candidates, Jonny Gomes and Chris Dickerson, are having fantastic springs. Jones has a few things going for him, including a successful track record with the Twins and Cubs. He played in Chicago for Dusty Baker in 2006.

“I know he can play,” Baker said. “It’s a matter of just doing it and getting his confidence back through performance. For whatever reason, sometimes you lose your stroke. I’ve seen him play. It’d be different if I hadn’t seen him play.”

But Baker also made it clear that Jones has to show he can improve in order to make the team.

“You’ve almost got to find it,” he said. “If you’re one of my regulars, then you’re not as worried about finding it. But when you’re trying to make the team, you don’t have much choice.”

  • Edinson Volquez got teased a little bit when he walked into the clubhouse after getting off the bus. Volquez’s Dominican team was bounced by an underdog Netherlands squad this week in the World Baseball Classic. 

“You weren’t gone long enough for us to miss you,” one player joked to Volquez.

Despite the early exit, Volquez loved his experience with the Dominican team.

“It was unbelievable playing with those guys – Big Papi (David Ortiz) and Pedro Martinez.”

His favorite moment?

“Being with Pedro,” Volquez said. “He doesn’t teach anybody but you can learn from him. He doesn’t tell you anything about the game. He said ‘just watch me pitch and you can get something.”

Volquez is slated to pitch three innings tonight.

Volquez’s countryman, Johnny Cueto is slated to pitch either as a starter or reliever on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Nick Masset was originally slated to start but Baker might change the order.

“I’d probably be leaning towards starting Cueto,” Baker said. “He’s only warmed up as a starter and Masset knows how to warm up as a starter and a reliever.” 

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