Little things, news and lineups
In another sign that the Reds are more focused on executing the fundamentals, or little things, than in past years — Friday’s 1-0 win over the Twins is a prime example. Dusty Baker was still thinking about one particular play and planned to point it out in the team meeting before taking the field for the workout.
With a runner on first and no outs, pitcher Micah Owings fielded Matt Tolbert’s hot grounder to the mound and threw quickly to second base for a perfectly turned a 1-6-3 double play. Those fielding drills seem mundane in the early days of camp, but they do have a purpose.
“The key to the ballgame and I point it out on PFPs about those comebackers,” Baker said. “In a game like that, 1-0, that was a key thing to the whole ballgame. When he snagged that ball, being a good athlete, threw perfectly to second base. That would have been first and third and nobody out. I’m a firm believer that a whole bunch of games lost on balls hit back to the box. That’s what Pete Rose taught us. He told us all the time. Stay back through the box and stay out of the air. That is what’s he told my kid last year when I was throwing to him in the cage. The biggest hole is the closest person, no reaction time.”
More news you can use:
- Another tweak to the spring rotation — Homer Bailey will pitch in a Minor League intrasquad game during Monday’s day off to stay on his regular turn. Daryl Thompson will also pitch in that game behind Bailey.
- Bill Bray is scheduled to pitch again out of the bullpen on Sunday vs. the Blue Jays. Bray, who had a sore shoulder earlier in camp, hasn’t pitched since last Saturday vs. Toronto. This layoff has had nothing to do with his shoulder however. Bray has been bothered by a tight left hamstring and pitched on the back fields in a simulated game earlier this week.
“We didn’t want to take a chance on him if he couldn’t cover first effectively or bunts,” Baker said. “There was a play at first base [last Saturday] to Daryle Ward and Billy didn’t cover. I kind of hit the roof a little bit and then I found out it was his hamstring.”
- You will notice in the lineup that the Reds have dispensed with the DH in their home games. Pitchers will hit from now on when possible.
“It’s about time for my pitchers to hit,” Baker said. “They would have been hitting sooner but we’ve had so many guys in camp that needed at-bats. But now it’s time for pitchers to be part of the game. Hopefully, they last long enough to get up there.”
- Because it was a day game after a night game, a lot of the regulars didn’t start. But many of them were available off the bench. Expect their innings and at-bat totals to increase more as they build towards Opening Day.
Taveras CF, Keppinger SS, Nix RF, Ward 1B, Francisco 3B, Tatum C, Hopper LF, Janish 2B, Arroyo P
Bartlett SS, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Pena 1B, Burrell RF, Aybar 2B, Navarro C, Zobrist CF, Kazmir P