Report date almost here…
The Reds complex was a little quieter Tuesday than on my first day around — not surprising since pitchers and catchers officially go to work Wednesday. Lots of players were still getting in workouts and Jared Burton threw to Devin Mesoraco catching in the bullpen.
One of the things I watched was Aroldis Chapman long tossing with bullpen coach Juan “Porky” Lopez. Chapman was chucking balls from the center field warning track area to Lopez, who was at the foul line just beyond first base. Let me tell you, these were some impressive heaves.
I later had a nice chat with Lopez, who had a busy winter with his kids. His son, Jack, is a star high school shortstop in Orlando and likely to be drafted this June. Jack also signed to attend the Univ. of Miami on a scholarship so he is a kid with options when the time comes to make decisions.
Among the people I saw in camp today that I didn’t see yesterday were Corky Miller, Daryl Thompson, Dave Sappelt, third base coach Mark Berry and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal.
Again, the weather is just spectacular today. I heard it might get colder by week’s end. And by colder, I mean the highs will be in the low-to-mid 60s. Don’t hate me for writing that.
ESPN and the Reds made news twice today.
Former Reds great Barry Larkin joined the network as a baseball analyst, it was formally announced today. Word had gotten out yesterday. Larkin had been with MLB Network since it launched.
Also — Baseball Tonight revealed its Spring Training tour itinerary and it will be in this camp on Wednesday. Larkin is not among the talent.
An item I didn’t expect was announced today. Ken Griffey Jr. is joining the Mariners as a special consultant. The club says Griffey will be involved in Major League Baseball operations and player development, as well as their Minor League system, marketing, broadcasting and community relations. Junior will also be at Spring Training this year. I always thought Griffey would lay very low after retiring so he could be with his kids. He went out quietly in the middle of last season. I’m glad to hear he’s going to be involved with the game to some degree.
Today’s story on the Reds site and MLB.com will be on Dontrelle Willis. It will be very interesting to see how he fares in camp and whether he can earn a spot in a crowded bullpen.
Things really get rolling on Wednesday. There will be physicals in the morning, a meetings and the first formal workout should commence in the afternoon. Manager Dusty Baker will also be in camp for the first time and his daily sessions with reporters will also begin.
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