Lineup makeup? Cozart second?
*Much like the rotation order was on Wednesday, the lineup order also remains a mystery for the Reds after leadoff man Brandon Phillips. Although Dusty Baker indicated that situation was more fluid.
“Everything right now is in theory,” Baker said on Thursday. “It’s subject to change. I will come up with something that will be a topic for discussion, I’m sure.”
Don’t be surprised though if rookie Zack Cozart bats No. 2 in the order. Baker batted Cozart in the two-hole in 10 of his 11 games last season.
“Age is a very small factor,” Baker said when asked about Cozart. “Skill, ability, aptitude, unselfishness – that’s where your most unselfish player in the lineup hits. And one of your smarter players in the lineup. They take a lot for the other guy to steal, a lot of stuff. “
*Another lineup issue is to cut down on strikeouts. The Reds offense had the fifth most K’s as a team in 2011.
“We’re still working on and addressing cutting down the strikeouts,” Baker said. “Most of the guys that have been striking out have been striking out most of their lives. Stubbs wasn’t the only guy you know. He just did the most. Imagine how good our offense could be if we put the ball in play a little more. We were still second in the league in runs scored.”
*I’m writing my main story on Bronson Arroyo today. Arroyo has altered his off-season program to find velocity that was missing last season during the worst year of his career.
“I totally retooled my entire workout program and did things I’ve never done before,” Arroyo said. “A lot of lunging, a lot of back exercises I’ve never done before to try and strengthen my back so I can use my legs. Over time my lower back has gotten to the point where it inhibited me from doing squats and I haven’t been able to use my legs. My flexibility has gotten worse in the whole hip region. I worked on that the whole off-season as well as the regular things like my scapula and shoulder. That was a huge transition for me – a lot of core work and a lot of back work. I feel as good as I’m going to feel. But if I’m throwing 85-88 mph consistently this year, then Bronson Arroyo is going to pitch that the rest of his career because that’s all there is in the tank.”
Said Baker: “He works harder than anybody we’ve got. He’s a great example for the young guys on how to go about your business. Everybody sees him as this fun loving, guitar playing dude but this cat works hard.”
*A representative from Topps was here with baseball cards in the clubhouse this morning. It’s interesting when you see a player open a pack and find his own card. I asked Mike Leake if he would put his own card in the spokes of his bicycle…he said no.