Friday afternoon notes
Dusty Baker was a rather pleased manager following the Reds’ 3-1 win over the Mariners. Besides winning, there were no walks allowed and no errors committed. In fact, neither side gave up a walk — which is pretty rare in a spring game.
“That was a very clean and well-played game,” Baker said. “Good pitching.”
Other news and notes out of the game today:
*There was a very strong nice outing from Dontrelle Willis today with two perfect innings. Willis was taking something off on a couple of pitches and crossed up some hitters. Of his 24 pitches, 19 were strikes. It was a much better performance than outing No. 1.
“Dontrelle threw strike after strike, especially when he got the 3-2 count on the guy,” Baker said. “You can’t say anything bad today.”
*I spoke with SS Zack Cozart before the game and he’s been having a good camp. After a 2-for-3 game, he is 4-for-10 (.400) over five games. This quote didn’t make it into my Reds beat item on him today.
“This year is a lot different for me,” Cozart said. “It was my first Spring Training. I was happy to be here and in awe of some of the guys. This year, I feel more part of the team. I am on the [40-man] roster. I’m more relaxed. Even Brook Jacoby and Dusty Baker said the same thing. I feel more at home. They can tell in my play out there. I’m not pressing. I’m trying to prove I can play.”
*I also did a pre-game interview for a feature story with OF Chris Heisey, who did not fare as well going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts today. Heisey, like Cozart, is more comfortable being in camp after going through last year. There is more at stake as Heisey is trying to retain his extra outfielder’s job amid competition from Fred Lewis and Jeremy Hemrida.
“I still have to make the team and I still can’t coast through. It is a new season,” Heisey said. “Last year I helped the team off the bench but it’s a new year and we have to win this year. No guarantrees I need to prove I can be the same guy this year and help the team off the bench and hopefully be that pinch-hitter again.”
*OF Juan Duran is only 19 but cuts an imposing figure at 6-foot-7. Duran was 2-for-2 today and sliced a liner into right field and slid into second base for a double.
“That’s why we’ve got him over here,” Baker said. “We’re letting the young guys play and see what they can do.”
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