Sunday morning notes

A nice little rain storm last night moved in and it’s still pretty damp in Goodyear. Workouts could be abbreviated somewhat as a result. Still not sure.

Some news came out of the reporter’s session with manager Dusty Baker. Among the highlights:

*Fifth starter candidate Mike Lincoln will start the first Cactus League game on Friday vs. the Indians.

“We want to see how he handles having time to prepare and think about it and warm up as a starter,” Baker said. “He knows how to warm up as a reliever.”

Lincoln believed his last start was in 2001 in Triple-A for the Pirates. His last big league start was in 2000 for the Twins.

“I enjoy having a routine,” Lincoln said. “Coming out of the ‘pen, you never know. You might throw one day and then throw four days in a row. A starter throws every fifth day. It would be nice.”

*Baker confirmed what seemed likely. Brandon Phillips will bat cleanup for him again this season.

“He’s the best selection I’ve got,” Baker said. “He has power and speed. Especially now that he’s learned to be an RBI man. I like Rolen in the fifth spot more than the fourth spot. He might getter pitches to hit because Brandon might steal.”

In fact, much of the lineup seems rather set. Stubbs or Dickerson will leadoff, followed by Cabrera, Votto, Phillips, Rolen and Bruce. So that’s 2-6 locked up for sure.

*Speaking of Dickerson, he was in the manager’s office for a little chat. Dickerson’s comments lately about wanting to compete for center field were addressed for sure.

“It’s OK. I handled it. No worries,” Baker said. “My whole thing is if you’ve got a beef, come to me.”

*Finally — pitcher Micah Owings was sent home sick on Saturday and isn’t back in camp on Sunday.

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If 2-6 are set, and 1 is down to a choice of 2, then the lineup is set. It doesn’t really matter if it’s Gomes / Dickerson 7 and Hernandez 8 or vice versa. I’m just not that excited seeing the lineup exactly mirror last year’s less than stellar team. Does this lineup match the Brewers, Cubs or Cards? Is the pitching (minus Volquez) really going to carry the Reds? If it’s going to, the key isn’t Chapman, it’s Harang. (Does Arthur Rhodes have another year like 2009 in him? Another key – who’s the lefthanded hammer in the bullpen without him?) I want to be excited about the Reds, but if the lineup’s as advertised, and the bench is Miles, Cairo, Nix, Janish and Hannigan, then the kids are all back at Louisville and we’re expecting what? A miracle? Dump the vets, promote the kids, and let’s see what we’ve got. Or it’s wait till 2011. Or am I crazy?

This isn’t the same lineup as last year’s losing team for sure.

Scott Rolen is in this lineup, not EE – that is a big change for the better.

Stubbs/Dickerson is in this lineup at leadoff and not fast Willy – that is a huge change for the better.

Cabrera is now our shortstop with Janish as the backup and not gonzalez. That is a big change (hopefully for the better).

Harang can’t be worse. Cueto is now in his 3rd season. Bailey broke out last year and was very consistent.

I am worried about Rhodes too, but you have Bray coming back if Rhodes does look like he is 40. Bruce is now working on his 3rd season in the bigs, so you should see a jump for him as well.

So your starting lineup is almost 40% different than last years. How isn’t that a big change.

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