February 2013

Day 3 in pictures

Not a whole lot of developments from Goodyear on Valentine’s Day. The only news to come out is that Miguel Cairo is joining the Reds baseball operations department as a special assistant to GM Walt Jocketty. I know his offensive struggles last season made Cairo a favorite to be bashed on the social media circles, but he was well liked behind the scenes. He was a good veteran influence in the clubhouse who worked his butt off. This new role will be a good one for him and the club. He will be used a special instructor during Spring Training and arrive on Friday.

Friday is also the day the full squad reports to camp. There will be another round of physicals for position players and a workout is slated for the afternoon. It should also be the first glimpses of Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.

Several position players were on a different field taking batting practice today. They are featured prominently in today’s photo gallery.

Leake still in Baker’s plans

With Aroldis Chapman in camp working to be in the rotation, much speculation is centered on what might become of last year’s fifth starter, Mike Leake.

Actually, this is the exact same scenario the Reds had last year.

“I’ve already talked to him. We weren’t sure until up to the end [of spring] last year,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said Thursday morning. “We’ve got six starters. He’s still in my plans.”


Day 2: Bullpen sessions

It was much quieter second day at camp than the first day — in terms of news. But routines remained the same and it was all about bullpen sessions and PFP (pitchers fielding practice). On a different field, early arriving position players took BP.

I saw Jay Bruce arrive early and Jack Hannhan got here around lunch time.

In the bullpen, I saw Sean Marshall, Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Logan Ondrusek and Homer Bailey pitching. Since I’m not a pitching coach or scout, I won’t say this guy looked good or that guy didn’t because even with this being my 13th season covering ball, I can’t make those conclusions. Chapman certainly appeared to be working on secondary pitches and I saw some changeups and catcher Ryan Hanigan seemed to be pleased as he voices encouragement.

Reliever Nick Masset (shoulder injury from 2012) did not work off of the mound today.

Here are some photos from Wednesday:

Be the match for Chris Herrell


I’m going to ask that you please give me a couple of minutes for a non-baseball post. Reds season sales manager Chris Herrell is battling a rare form of blood cancer and is facing an uphill battle. The only hope/cure for Chris is to get a bone marrow transplant.

Chris is just 39 years old and he and his wife, Laurie, have three young kids.

On Friday, Feb. 22, at the Reds Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, there will be a donor drive open to people ages 18-44 with the hope that someone can be the match. The event runs from 11 a.m-6 p.m.

Currently, there are no donors that match Chris in the registry so he really does need your help. All you’d have to do is fill out a questionnaire and have the inside of your mouth swabbed.

For more information about Chris , bone marrow donation and bethematchfoundation.org, please click here.

Early items: Bailey, Cueto

Good Wednesday morning from Arizona where the wake-up temperature was 37!

Here are some quick items from the clubhouse:

*Homer Bailey is not worrying about his contract situation as the final arbitration player unresolved. Mat Latos was cleared from the slate when he signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract on Tuesday.

“It’s kind of a slow process. We’ll see how it goes and go from there,” Bailey said of his situation. “I think both sides really don’t want to go to hearing — on any case, not just mine. It’s good they reached an agreement with Mat. I know he was looking forward to it. I’m sure the organization is glad they got that done.”

Bailey’s hearing is scheduled for Monday.

When numbers were exchanged, Bailey filed at $5.8 million, while the club offered $4.75 million – a difference of $1,050,000. He avoided arbitration last winter by signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

*Asked about the idea of Johnny Cueto pitching in the World Baseball Classic, manager Dusty Baker wasn’t enthusiastic.

“Not especially,” Baker said. “I can understand the pressures that come from pitching and being from Latin America. There is more national pride than anybody I’ve almost seen.”


Day 1 of camp in the books

I don’t know if I can recall as busy of a first day of Spring Training, but who knows? There was a lot of news out of Reds camp today. As for the workout, it was business as usual. There were some bullpen sessions and pitchers fielding practice (PFP), which is the annual ritual. Not many of the big league names threw in the bullpen today — JJ Hoover and Tony Cingrani were among the group that did.

On Wednesday — the entire rotation is slated to work off of the mound. Nick Masset’s name is also on the list, so that could be interesting.

It wasn’t typical Arizona weather the last couple of days. It was in the high 40s when my plane touched down on Monday. This morning when I drove to the complex, it was in the high 30s. But the sun was out and it was a pretty day. You still need sunscreen even when it’s cool.

Here are some pictures from Tuesday:

Rolen not returning

Scott Rolen has decided not to return to the Reds for this season, the club announced Tuesday afternoon.

“Scott made significant contributions to our team’s recent success, and it isn’t a coincidence we made the playoffs in two of his three full seasons here,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said in a statement. “He made a huge impact in Cincinnati with his work ethic and leadership on the field, in the clubhouse and in our community.”…

Rolen also issued a statement through the team: “Right now I’m simply not ready to make a commitment. I would like to leave my options open, without closing any doors. I am looking forward to all of the challenges, both personally and professionally, I will face in the future.”

Rolen, who will turn 38 on April 4, batted .245 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs in 92 games last season. He missed 34 games with a left shoulder injury and several more with back problems. He earned $6.5 million in 2012 in the final season of a three-year contract and was widely expected to retire.

The Reds had in essence already moved on from Rolen by naming Todd Frazier as the everyday third baseman early in the off-season. The club also signed free agent Jack Hannahan as a backup third baseman and infielder.

Two year deal for Latos

The Reds and starting pitcher Mat Latos avoided arbitration on Tuesday when the right-hander was signed to a two-year, $11.5 million contract through the 2014 season. It also comes with various award bonuses.

Latos, 25, likely netted a significant raise from the $550,000 he earned in 2012 after being first-time eligible for arbitration.

When numbers were exchanged last month, Latos filed for $4.7 million, while the club’s offer was $4.15 million.

Only Homer Bailey is left among the seven arbitration cases the Reds had from this off-season.

And so it begins…

Good morning from Goodyear, where today is the official start of Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report today but that’s largely ceremonial since many have been here for several days. What today does bring is physicals for the pitchers and catchers and an afternoon workout. I will have stuff throughout the day here and on MLB.com/Reds.com.

I just met Shin-Soo Choo and did an interview for a story that you’ll see later. Also seen thus far: Bronson Arroyo, Sam LeCure, Logan Ondrusek, Billy Hamilton, Manny Parra and Alfredo Simon.

In pictures from out here, you will notice some new caps. They have home and road Spring Training/batting practice hats this season. You may have seen them already but if not — check it out:

caps 021213

Choo, Hensley signed

Greetings from Goodyear… I had just pulled into the parking lot when I received the emails with Reds news already.

The Reds and new outfielder Shin-Soo Choo avoided arbitration on Monday when he was signed to a one-year contract. The club also signed reliever Clay Hensley and invited him to Spring Training as a non-roster player.

Terms were not immediately known. Choo filed for $8 million, and the club countered at $6.75 million. Only pitchers Mat Latos and Homer Bailey remain in Cincinnati’s arbitration slate.

Hensley, a seven-year Major League veteran has previously pitched for the Padres, Marlins and Giants. Last season for San Francisco, the right-hander was 4-5 with a 4.62 ERA in 60 games.

The Reds spring roster now stands at 58 players.

And unfortunately none of those 58 persons were here to talk with, including Choo, by the time I hit the ground at the complex. I will have to make my introductions on Tuesday.

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