Sunny Sunday in Goodyear

*We are off to a slow start this Sunday morning because the players are having their annual closed-door meeting with the MLB Players Association. Right after the meeting, they take the field for the workout and another round of live BP.

*Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked if life will get easier without having to manage against Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

“Their teams are still good teams,” Baker replied. “A lot is going to fall in Beltran and Wainwright and they’ve got Furcal from the beginning. It’s still going to be a tough race. Pittsburgh, they were tough the first half. They can get better and they’re more experienced.”

*Is Baker more comfortable with Reds pitching after the upgrades?

“I’ll be more comfortable once we leave healthy,” Baker said. “Right now, everything is on paper. I’m more confident on paper, I’ll say that. We hopefully will leave healthy.”

*Cincinnati native and Moeller alum Andrew Brackman stands out at 6-foot-11 but he was worried he would have blended in too much had he pursued pro basketball after his time at NC State. Instead he chose baseball and was a first-round pick by the Yankees in 2007.

“I think I made the right decision,” said Brackman, who is seeking a bullpen spot with the Reds. “There are 6-11 guys all over the NBA and there’s not many here.”

Brackman, who I will have a feature story on later today, averaged 7.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in two seasons on hoops.

“I definitely could have played [professionally] in Europe,” he said. “The NBA, I didn’t think, would be a long shot. It’s funny because I’ve always been a late bloomer. I only gave basketball two years in college. I think it would have been different if I had played those last two. But I am pretty happy with my decision. I’ve never had any problems with my knees. Just the elbow.”

*One week of camp is in the books already, about five more to go. Sorry for rubbing it in, but every single day out here has been picture perfect weatherwise. There has been no chilly days, no rain, no nothing. It’s all good in the desert so far.

*With the full squad here, there are more coaches and instructors around. I saw Eric Davis, now a member of the front office, the other day. I’ve also seen Rick Sweet and Minor League managers Jim Riggleman and Ken Griffey Sr., among others.

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