Baker happy for Matheny
Reds manager Dusty Baker knows he’ll have a different opposing skipper on the other side of the field tonight vs. the Cardinals. But it’s someone he’s known and is friends with — Mike Matheny, who replaced the retired Tony LaRussa.
“I’m glad for Matheny that he got the job. He’s a good guy,” Baker said on Monday.
The thought of Matheny had Baker recalling a funny story from last season.
“I was talking to Matheny [on the phone] when I got stopped by the police last year in St. Louis,” Baker said. “I made an illegal left turn when I was with [clubhouse manager] Rick Stowe. It was like a comedy. Rick was scared to death. He thought he was on an episode of “Cops.” He had his hands on the dashboard.”
Worried about being late to the ballpark that day, Baker made a second mistake of getting out of the car while the officers were running his plates. But everything turned out OK. And once again, it proved Baker has a friend in just about every city and every walk of life.
“They let me off with a warning,” Baker said. “After he saw my license and stuff, he knows I wasn’t out-running him. [The officer] happened to be a guy I was nice to when he was bartending in Sacramento when I was out.”
*The Reds and Cardinals meetings usually has layers of intrigue that come with them, especially since both teams expect to contend all season for the NL Central flag.
“I feel like the Cardinals are the best team in the division because they won it all last year,” said Brandon Phillips, who had one very infamous scrape against St. Louis in 2010. “They’re playing good baseball like they always do. I feel they’re the team to beat. I feel we’re going to give many teams a run for their money.
“Any time you play the Cardinals, you always have a chip on your shoulder. You always want to beat those guys and you always want to beat the best.”
*Tuesday would be Johnny Cueto’s normal day to start since he pitched on Thursday. Mike Leake is getting the ball, however, as Cueto will work on a fifth day of rest. There was no thought of skipping Leake.
“You have to pitch Leake some time,” Baker said. “You don’t want Leake to go two weeks without pitching. It’s a long ways and the extra day won’t hurt Johnny either.”
*After Spring Training, the Reds released LHP Clay Zavada. He was one of the later cuts in camp.
*SS Paul Janish, currently at Triple-A Louisville, was named the International League’s player of the week. Janish hit .429 (6-for-14) and led the league with two home runs (both on Opening Day), 14 total bases, and a 1.000 slugging percentage.