Bruce goes (very) deep

Got some postgame items for you following Friday’s 4-3 split-squad loss to the White Sox:

*Jay Bruce hit his first homer of spring, a two-run shot with two outs in the first inning. Bruce wasn’t cheated as his drive against Felipe Paulino cleared the right field fence, and the patio, and a sidewalk — before clanking off of an outside fence of Goodyear Stadium.

“It was awfully nice,” said Reds bench coach Jay Bell, who managed the home squad while Bryan Price traveled with the other group. “I know this is Arizona…but that was a blast. It’s fun to see his timing. His timing is starting to get right there. He’s been swinging the bat good. There’s been a few guys that have really kind of come on strong. We’ve got another few weeks, hopefully it gets even better. It’s going to be exciting watching him this year.”

*Lots of Cincinnati connections on the field today for the White Sox. There were two former Reds — Adam Dunn and Jeff Keppinger. LHP Eric Surkamp is a Moeller High School product. Surkamp pitched two innings … Dunn had two RBI singles — both were screamers.

*Even if it was a Spring Training contest, Bell enjoyed getting to manage the game. It had been a little while.

“I did it whenever I was bench coach with Arizona. It’s fun,” Bell said. “It’s nice to get back out there. That’s my job. My job is to manage everyday anyway – I don’t get to put the signs on. It’s nice to get out there and give the signs Bryan is going to use to the third base coach this year.”

*There were a lot of hard-hit balls today, even though the Reds had only seven hits. (Chicago did too and had nine). Bell credited hitting coach Don Long’s efforts.

“Donnie has a great job with the hitters. The approach has been fantastic,” Bell said. “The results aren’t always there. One of the things Bryan is doing is preaching process over results right now. You always love winning, no doubt about that, but there is a particular process he wants us to utilize prior to getting in the regular season so we can go through an entire season with the good approach. We want production over anything else this year.”

*Strange error of the day: Brayan Pena stole second base in the top of the fourth. Catcher Tyler Flowers was charged with an E2 on the throw. Why? There was no one covering second base and the ball went into the outfield while Pena advanced to third base.

*Over at the other game vs. the Mariners, Chris Heisey was 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs. Brandon Phillips was 2-for-2 with a solo homer and three RBIs.

*Looked like another tough day for RHP Daniel Corcino in Peoria. In the sixth, Corcino gave up five runs, three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. His spring ERA through three games is 58.50.

*The game stories are on MLB.com/Reds.com. I will also have a notebook item on Mike Leake’s spring debut, which went well. He threw 27 pitches over two innings and reported no issues with the abdomen strain that scratched his outing on Sunday.

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