The return of games is here as the Reds and Indians met Tuesday.
Got a picture for proof.
First pitch temperature: 63 degrees.
As you saw in the previous blog post of Tuesday’s lineup, Joey Votto is not starting the Cactus League opener. There are no alarm bells to go off, however. Votto came to camp not in his usual baseball shape because he spent the winter rehabbing back from the distal strain of his left quadriceps that cost him much of last season.
Votto is very pleased with how his camp has gone to this point.
“I feel really good,” Votto said. “I was surprised at how good I feel this early. I’m trending towards starting to play in games, hopefully here in the not too distant future. I do feel like I need a little bit more time, but the time is not a bi-product of avoiding games or not being ready when I need to be ready. It’s just to make sure after taking what seems to be 10 months, eight months, or however long off from baseball that I play the game a little bit more to get ready and get the volume in and get the reps in.”
Votto has shown no real limitations to this point but hasn’t worked in some of the little things that happen during the workouts yet.
“Those little things, I’m starting to get to the point where those I will be able to join in on and be able to fully be a part of nearly everything with the team,” Votto said.
Reds lineup vs. Indians for Tuesday
It was cooler and rainy Saturday morning, wet enough that I wondered if there would be a full workout. But the rain moved on and everything was normal. The Reds did another live BP session with Tony Cingrani, Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Daniel Corcino and more. Batting right-handed Billy Hamilton hit one over the fence vs. Cingrani and heard some hoots from teammates and smiled when he left the cage.
The other big thing today was the rundown drills. Minor leaguers were the runners and different situations were practiced.
As a reminder, all of the camp news, notes and features are on Reds.com and MLB.com.
Here are some pictures from Saturday:
Live batting practice was what was happening at Reds camp today. Rotation candidates Tony Cingrani, Anthony DeScalfani and Raisel Iglesias were among the pitchers who worked.
Joey Votto weighed in on the recent discussion about leadership, or the lack thereof, the Reds clubhouse. Actually, he called the beat writers over and had a passionate few minutes where he pushed back on the criticisms. While Mat Latos certainly brought the situation to the forefront the other day, Votto addressed the issue in more general terms.
Here is a snippet — with a story to come on MLB.com.
“The thing that upsets me the most is the people that are talking about leadership and talking about our clubhouse are not in our clubhouse,” Votto said. “They’re not consistently here to make any sort of comment on the clubhouse. These are guys that very rarely show their face in the clubhouse, are never on the bus, not in the hotel, certainly not on the field and these guys are constantly commenting on the importance of leadership with no sort of experience to be able to have that conversation. They don’t see the interactions. They don’t see the bench. They’re going to write and talk endlessly on something they have no information on. To me, I think that’s doing a disservice to this team. It’s doing a disservice to the front office, to the coaching staff and I think it’s highly, highly convenient because we lost last year to highlight something like that.
“I played with Scott [Rolen] – a wonderful, wonderful teammate. But Scott was one of the more quiet guys I ever played with. He led as an example. We don’t need that. We’ve got a group of guys that do not need to be led because we are that example. You don’t see any guys dog. Brandon’s become a wonderful leader on this team and a wonderful teammate. It’s been such a great experience playing with him and learning from him. He never gets any credit and he does little things nobody sees. The people who write and talk about it are not being very fair, I don’t think. I think it’s totally out of left field. I think, in my opinion, it’s just talk. We win this year, all of a sudden there’s going to be a leader on the team or a group of leaders, and so and so did this or so and so did that, we win and all of a sudden everything changes. We have one unhealthy year last year — not a good year, let’s not forget about that, we did not have a good year last year — we need this and we need that. Leadership is one of the things people have been pointing out. I don’t think it’s objective.”
Two-time Masters champion and PGA golfer Bubba Watson stopped by at Reds camp today. Here are some video from his meeting with reporters:
Reds manager Bryan Price and general manager Walt Jocketty responded Monday to the comments made by former pitcher Mat Latos. See below for full text:
“You know… Obviously this is a distraction that we anticipated and we’re not going to allow it to become a long-running distraction, it’s obviously something we need to talk about today and address, unfortunately. To me, it’s a bunch of tabloid BS that’s unnecessary. First things first, we have a top-shelf training and medical staff and have had them for years. Their credibility is undeniable. It’s a non-issue. It’s unfortunate that we even have to address it. We universally support our training staff, they are as invested in our players as any staff I’ve been a part of and having been a staff member here for the last five years, I’ve seen fully the interest that Mr. Castellini, Walt, Dusty, myself, our medical staff, our training staff, coaching staff have taken in making sure we’re up to date with what’s happening with our players. We would not compromise the health of our players to win a baseball game. I couldn’t be more supportive of what we do here from a medical standpoint.
Had Price talked with Mat after his trade to Miami in December?
“I talked with Mat. I texted Mat. I sent Mat a nice note of appreciation for his time here. This is going to be something that should be a non-issue that has now become an issue. I’m not going to get into a he-said, she-said environment, all I can tell you is a lot of things came out that shined a really negative light on our organization and that is unfair and inaccurate. We have outstanding leadership from ownership through the front office, through the coaching staff, training and medical staff and we have outstanding, quality, high-character people in our clubhouse. We have our own imperfections, as does every other club, but this is a first-class organization and it’s ridiculous we even have to discuss something of this nature that would shine a negative light on this organization, because we’ve done nothing to deserve it.
“We’re like any other team, and last year was a year we were hit with a lot of injuries. That being said, it had zero to do with anything that would be negligent on the backs of our medical staff, our training staff and our strength and conditioning staff. We honor our players by the way we care about them and if we’re waiting for our players to be 100 percent healthy when they take the team, no one is going to field a team, I can tell you that, no matter what sport you have. 162 games in 180 days, if you’re looking for 100 percent, no one is going to field a team on a daily basis, that’s not going to happen. If that’s our goal, we’ll cut our season back to about 20 games.”
“First of all, we feel very strong that we have one of the best medical staffs in baseball from Dr. Kremchek all the way down to our trainers and physical therapists and our minor league rehabs and so forth. We follow very strict protocols after surgeries, rehabbing and so forth with the physical therapists. We treat everyone the same to make sure they are ready to go. We don’t rush anybody. If anything, I’ve always had a philosophy that if a guy says he’s ready, you wait an extra day or two just to make sure. We’ve always kind of followed that protocol.
“Then when I read the rest of the stuff and saw some of the other comments he made, I even got more upset. No. 1, it’s something that’s not true. There might have been a couple of things that were exaggerated – more than a couple. There’s just no reason to go there and we’re spending a lot of time today talking about it.”
“We have a great group of players. We’ve had good leadership. We haven’t had the vocal leaders that everybody tries to look to or point to. We’ve had a lot of guys who control things in that clubhouse and manage the clubhouse. I’ve always told some of the key players that it’s up to them because the manager, the general manager and the coaching staff can only do so much as far as managing the clubhouse. It’s their clubhouse and they have to control it. They have to manage it. It’s that way in my career in St. Louis and Cincinnati. We’ve never had any situation that was out of control. It’s always been well managed and well respected by the other players.
It’s uncommon for players to discuss stuff from the clubhouse, even after leaving?
“I think he made some comments when he left San Diego as well. You have to consider the source,” replied Jocketty.