Lineup tinkering, Ludwick, Votto

It’s another frigid day in Arizona, and it’s much warmer back in Cincinnati. Here are some notes

*With the exception of the top three spots, Dusty Baker has done quite a bit of tinkering with the 4-9 spots of his lineup this spring. He was asked if he was looking at some different possiblities.

“You’re always looking,” Baker replied. “You might be looking all through the season. It’s hard to come up with something set. Who might be hot early might not be hot later.”

*Scott Rolen is batting cleanup today and has been one of the hotter hitters in camp. Coming into camp, he seemed destined for the sixth spot. But if he does what the Reds hope he’ll do, that could affect the order’s makeup.

“That’s a major part of it,” Baker said of Rolen.

*Joey Votto entered today batting .200, which is typical for him at this point in Spring Training. Votto usually gets it going by the end.

“Joey takes a lot of pitches in Spring Training to see pitches,” Baker said. “Joey is looking at pitches he knows he can hit. That would be defeating his point and purpose right now. The more pitches he sees, the better timing he will get – breaking balls, off-speed, fastballs in.”

*Ryan Ludwick is off to a quasi-slow start, batting .231 (6-for-26) with two RBIs through 12 games entering today. Ludwick, a key acquisition to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, is confident he will be ready and hitting in time for the regular season.

“You can’t evaluate yourself too much until you get 40-50 at-bats at Spring Training,” Ludwick said. “Working with Mark McGwire [on the Cardinals], he said you try to get your rhythm or timing the first 20-30 at-bats. Then you see the ball and at 40-50, everything should come together.”

*I am writing a little feature about non-roster LHP Clay Zavada, who did not pitch well yesterday but has otherwise looked good in camp. Zavada has had a tough road and was knocked out of the game twice. Once in 2007 after his father died, he went home to Illinois to help on the family farm. And in 2010, he had Tommy John surgery and missed most of the season. I found this quote from Zavada to be pretty interesting.

“I’m excited for this year,” Zavada said. “Last year, I didn’t have the opportunity to fight for a job because of my surgery to really do anything. This year I have a fighting chance, which feels good. If you can’t fight, they’ll bury you. You have to scratch and claw every day. That’s how I’ve always worked – scratching, clawing and fighting every day. I don’t have the best stuff but you have to be a savage. It’s a ruthless game so you have to be ruthless – not as a person but out on the mound doing your work. You have to be an absolute, ruthless savage. Those guys in the box want to tear your head off.”

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