Welcome to Opening Day 2012

Welcome to Opening Day. It looked gloomy this morning but it really appears to be a nice day this afternoon.

News and notes:

*RHP Alfredo Simon, the recent waiver pickup for the Reds, threw in the bullpen yesterday and felt 100 percent. Simon dealt with a groin injury during Spring Training with the Orioles. He said it was one of the reasons that led to his being cut by Baltimore.

“They had a lot of pitching and didn’t have a spot for me,” Simon said. “I had a groin injury and they put me on waivers because I didn’t pitch that much in spring training. I knew I’d get picked up. It’s business. It happens. I’m here right now and very happy.”

*A groin injury slowed LHP Bill Bray throughout camp and limited him to 3 2/3 innings over 4 games all spring. Bray will not have his usual late inning role to begin the season.

“He’s had enough to pitch but not enough to pitch in the role we are accustomed to seeing him or with the regularity we’re accustomed to seeing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s still in Spring Training [mode]. We want to use him more in the middle vs. late right now. If something happens adversely and he’s not sharp or whatever, you have time and innings to come back vs. if it was in the eighth or ninth when you don’t have time to rebound or comeback.”

*Baker was asked if a fast start was important to the Reds this season. It would be nice but…

“It is important but it’s not mandatory,” Baker said. “It’s how you finish. Last year didn’t we start [5-0] and there were signs out we’d go 162-0? Didn’t we sweep Milwaukee right away? It’s a long race, a long run. … We have to always remember this is a long, long race. You want to stay out of extended losing streaks, win close ballgames, play as consistent mistake-free baseball as you can and stay as healthy as you can. Don’t get too high when things are good and don’t get too low when things go poorly.”

*Here’s one more picture of a guy you might recognize. (Hint: He just signed a very, very, very large contract to stay with the Reds for a very, very long time.)

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