Saturday AM before ‘Play Ball’

As if you didn’t already know…a game is going to be played today over at Goodyear Ballpark between the Reds and Indians. While every day out here has been enjoyable, it will be nice to write about something actually happening on the field. It also the start of sorting through how some of the roster battles will develop.

*I wasn’t remotely surprised at the comments about the Reds lineup yesterday. Quite honestly, I think complaining about Spring Training lineups is a total waste of oxygen. I know Chris Heisey is the guy everybody wants to see play but I’d expect to see a lot of him in the lineup this spring, and this season. Whoever plays left field between Heisey and Ryan Ludwick is going to be based on the best matchups during the regular season. There is not some sort of clubhouse war between Ludwick and Heisey over playing time. Quite the opposite, in fact.

*Speaking of Ludwick, he has experience of batting cleanup behind a premier hitter like Albert Pujols.

“I know that. We’ll see if he is the same Ludwick. Or Ludwick revisted,” said manager Dusty Baker, who put Ludwick behind Joey Votto today. “He’s done it. He’s hit left-handers well, [it helps] especially on days I want to split up Bruce and Votto.”

*During Ludwick’s best season of 2008 in St. Louis, he hit 20 homers with 59 RBIs and a .295 BA with 67 starts in the fourth spot. He also hit well ahead of Pujols in the No. 2 spot…with a .339 average in 30 starts.

*Much has been made of Jay Bruce’s weight loss already. But how has he looked on the field thus far, even before the games commence?

“He’s in better shape than I’ve ever seen him. You can tell how hard he’s worked this winter,” Baker said. “I watch him in the workout room. He’s light on his feet. You can tell he feels good about himself.”

*Of new pitchers in camp, RHP Andrew Brackman has been one guy that’s impressed. Brackman looked mostly good yesterday in the intrasquad game. He threw one scoreless inning with 10 pitches. Brackman had first batter Drew Stubbs down 0-2 and walked him, which wasn’t good. But he got Neftali Soto to end the inning on a first-pitch, 5-4-3 GIDP.

“He’s been working on his delivery and mechanics and stuff,” Baker said. “When you’re that tall, you have a lot of moving parts. He wasn’t a high round draft choice for nothing – not just because he is tall. You know it’s in there.”

I hope to have more stuff after the game ….


If Brackman can’t strike out Drew Stubbs, that’s a concern. My son struck out Drew Stubbs twice last season. And he wasn’t even born yet.

Just as easy to stay positive and say that Stubbs’ approach and discipline at the plate is vastly improved. Either conclusion based on one intramural, springtime at-bat is silly!

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