Reds working on situational hitting

Lots of things afoot at Reds camp on Monday, with only two days left until the first exhibition game vs. the Indians. Folks are getting eager to move on to the next, more tangible, phase of camp.

One of the activities that happened on Sunday was a drill for various situations. As opposed to the coaches or a pitcher throwing from the mound, Reds coaches used a pitching machine.

“First and foremost, it would be really taxing all of those pitches on the field,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “One thing you try to get from a pitching machine is repetition and speed and location as best you can. … It saves us from having to beat up our staff having to throw all of those pitches.”

There is another reason behind the use of the machine.

“It does lend itself to an area we really want to focus on and improve – our situational hitting, hitting to the count, hitting to the situation,” Price said. “We’ve spent some time working on our two-strike approach, running at third less than two outs, infield in, infield back. Just some really good situational opportunities that when you do it on the field, it gives you a lot better feedback than if you’re doing it in the cage.”

Hitting coach Don Long has instituted a points system to reward players for doing the right thing in a certain situation.

“It’s a competition for points,” Price said. “Everybody at the end of the day wants to know where they stand in their points accumulation.”

Who decides on how points are awarded, and how many?

“Don does and he’s the dictator,” Price said. “There is no other outside influence there. All judgments are final.”

Other items from camp on Monday:

*Jonathan Broxton took a step forward by throwing off of the mound in the bullpen today. Broxton, who had right forearm surgery in August to repair a torn flexor mass tendon, threw 15 pitches.

“No problems. I got that step out of the way,” Broxton said. There will be more on this in my Reds notebook for MLB.com.

*For my main story today, Joey Votto was asked about his thoughts on how people view his statistics as a hitter. Click here to read that.

*Like I wrote at the top, there is anticipation for games to begin. That includes Price, too.

“This is an important spring for me as well just getting acquainted with my position,” Price said. “It’s a new position for me. I’m really enjoying the administrative portion of putting together a lineup, your second wave of players.”

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