Results tagged ‘ Goodyear ’

Rain in the desert?

One of the benefits of moving Spring Training to Arizona from Florida was there would be no rain. Make that not as much rain.

There are showers today and with cooler temperaturs, so it’s the first less than stellar day since I got here. Of course, with this Goodyear facility much larger than the old one, there is enough space to get more work done indoors.

Aroldis Chapman is among those scheduled to throw another bullpen session today. It will just be inside instead of outside.Correction, the bullpens were outside but the mound and plate were covered.

When asked how Chapman was assimilating with the Latin players, manager Dusty Baker indicated he’s not getting involved in the process.

“I let them do their thing,” Baker said. “Guys will gravitate towards each other. Guys that have something in common. You have to let things evolve sometimes. I learned being the new kid in school a couple of times that you don’t want to automatically fall into groups. You want to intertwine with everybody until you find who you have the most in common with. That takes more than a couple of days.”

This morning as several Spanish speaking players gathered in the center of the clubhouse, like Johnny Cueto, Ramon Hernandez and Pedro Viola, Chapman was outside the circle and seated at is locker. But he was taking it all in and smiling. It won’t be long before he’s joining a group and getting more comfortable.

It’s obviously early but through the first two days, everyone has gotten through the workouts intact. No injuries to report.

“These guys came in shape. I love that,” Baker said. “I think they know what’s at stake, how much competition there are for these jobs and we’re pretty deep.

“There’s an increase in young depth and maturity. An organization doesn’t just get good in one area. You have to commend the scouts, the minor league system and everybody for signing a certain type of player and developing that player. Then you have to give the player credit for maturity as a player and personality. It’s up to us to try and put that together. In modern baseball, you have to put it together in a short period of time.”

One thing I didn’t mention yesterday was that Homer Bailey, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Cueto had their bullpen sessions. All of them looked pretty good. Bailey was definitely bringing some velocity.

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Reds, Gomes waiting it out

The holding pattern between the Reds and Jonny Gomes is continuing. There has been no advancement in talks as the opening of Spring Training draws near.

“It’s the same as it was before,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said

On the phone from Goodyear, Ariz., Jocketty sounded like the team was moving forward with its plans, with or without Gomes in the fold.

“We think we will get everyone in camp, meet with everybody and then decide if we need to do something else,” Jocketty said. “He’s also exploring other situations. We’ll see next week.”

There are 17 outfielders still on the free agent market — including Jermaine Dye and Johnny Damon are the biggest names. But Garret Anderson, Cliff Floyd, Endy Chavez and Marlon Anderson are among the others on the next tier — I wouldn’t be surprised that if one of them signs and establishes what’s left of the market, Gomes might then make his decision.

The Reds have no plans to bring in any other free agents if Gomes doesn’t sign.

Meanwhile, Jocketty said the all was well out west.

“It’s beautiful. Temperatures are in the 70s and there’s not a cloud in the sky,” he said. “On Monday, we’ll get the ofifce up and running. On Tuesday, I will get with my staff and on Wednesday, I will meet with Dusty and the coaches and get our strategy planned out.”

Camp opens with the first workout for pitchers and catchers on Thursday.

And for those that were wondering the other day, Kip Wells will be added to the mix for the fifth spot of the rotation battle. Wells agreed to a Minor League deal a couple of days ago.

“We told him at the end of last year that if nothing else happened for him elsewhere, we’d bring him back,” Jocketty said. “He did well for us at the end of the season.”

Wells, signed to a Minor League deal in July, became a fill-in starter for the Reds late in the season and was 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA in four September starts.

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Getting ready for Goodyear

After having lunch with my wife today at Five Guys Burgers (mmmm….Five Guys), I ventured over to Great American Ball Park where the truck for Spring Training was being packed up. It’s one of the subtle signs that baseball season is right around the corner. Truck leaves Friday and pitchers/catchers report on Feb. 18.

I knocked out a story, which can be seen here.

Here are a couple of pictures, courtesy of Michael Anderson from the Reds.




Anyone for Goodyear?

Sorry for the lack of blog action this past week. I was off on a stay-cation for my final break before things get busy and I head to Goodyear.

Speaking of that developing suburb, is anybody out there going to Goodyear to see Spring Training? I’ve got my place there and even though it won’t be scenic Siesta Key/Sarasota, I’m looking forward to the new experience. There will be new ballparks to see, new routines to learn and new highways to navigate. Anything has to be better than getting stuck on I-75 in Florida…right? Well if you do happen to be out there, don’t be afraid to say hello if you’re at the practice fields or ballpark. I will pretty much be there for the duration.

Although I would rule nothing out, it seems like the Reds are going to camp with what they currently have. How do you feel about that? It wouldn’t shock me if someone was signed just before camp, or even during camp. Orlando Cabrera is one of three free agent shortstops left on the market but I don’t see it happening. His price will probably fall but not low enough to make him a fit for the Reds.

Did anyone notice the signing of right-handed reliever Jose Arredondo on Friday? A minor league deal, it won’t do a thing for the Reds in 2010. But for 2011, it could be a shrewd addition for the bullpen if he is back and healthy. In 2008, he had 1.62 ERA while going 10-2 in 52 games for the Angels. A nice stat was his 55 strikeouts compared to 22 walks in 61 innings.

Arredondo is due to have Tommy John surgery soon and will miss all of next season. It should cap what has been a lousy off-season. After he was 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA, he was not offered a contract by the Angels in December and then was reportedly stabbed in the left arm in the Dominican Republic. The injury wasn’t considered serious according to the reports.

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Bray update, Fehr, Goodyear

  • Talked to reliever Bill Bray, who has not been on the game schedule to pitch because he’s catching up from a sore shoulder at the start of camp. Bray had a smooth live BP session on Thursday and is scheduled for two more of those on Saturday and Tuesday.

Bray is going to change his off-season program and do more to prevent recurring soreness, including throwing throughout the winter.

“I’m probably going to work a lot more closely with a physical therapist next year,” Bray said. “I did all my own stretching and arm program and I still had problems when I started throwing. I think it’s going to take more than just me. It’s going to take someone to stretch me out better than I can do on my own.”

Bray came down with sore shoulders in both 2007 and 2008.

“I’m tired of it,” he said. “Anything I can do to avoid this again, I will definitely do. It’s pretty annoying coming down here and getting behind.”

Last year, Bray still worked a career-high 63 games and posted a 2.87 ERA.

  • MLBPA executive director Don Fehr held a 90 minute meeting with the players inside the clubhouse. Fehr, as usual, used many words without describing the details of the meeting.

“We’re not in a bargaining year so the subjects you cover aren’t as expansive,” Fehr said. “There wasn’t as much detail. This meeting had one characteristic a lot of other meetings don’t. Usually if a meeting is supposed to start at 8:30, we close the door at 8:30 but we don’t start until 10 until nine. This one started right at 8:30. Dusty runs a tight ship. He wants to go work.”

As for Alex Rodriguez and the identity of the still-sealed 103 names of players that tested positive for PEDs in 2003, Fehr said it came up.

“In the meetings we have, it is a topic of current interest and obviously we go over it,” Fehr said. “We sent a long memo to players 10 days ago explaining what happened. But we go over it and explain it, especially to the younger players that weren’t here in 2003-04 and don’t remember that the testing program is different than what we have now.”

“I think there is generally a level of concern anyone has when you have matters — which by contract and at this point court order — are supposed to remain confidential that they should remain confidential. It’s hard to characterize it beyond that.”

  • Reds assistant GM Bob Miller was back in town after a trip to Goodyear, Ariz., to see the new Spring Training ballpark. The Indians opened it the other day and the reviews from Miller were very positive. The little of the stadium I could see on ESPN during some Indians-Giants highlights looked pretty cool.

I was out in Arizona in September and went to Goodyear to take a tour of the Indians site one morning. I was impressed and I know that the Reds’ half of the complex will look very similar. My colleague and former Reds scribe, Anthony Castrovince, told me that the complex and stadium are awesome.

It’s a shame the Reds have to leave Sarasota but the baseball amenities in Goodyear can’t come close to being matched by what’s currently at Ed Smith Stadium. The travel time for games will also be much easier on everyone.

Question of the day: Would you go to Arizona to see the Reds at Spring Training?

Also from Fox Sports Ohio:
You won’t want to miss the special Reds Classic Rewind coming up this Monday, March 2 at 10:30 p.m. Tune in for the telecast of the October 12, 1976 NLCS Reds vs. Phillies game, which includes original video synced with Reds broadcast audio, featuring Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall. The first and only version of the game to ever be broadcast will be hosted by Reds Live co-host, Jeff Piecoro. 




Sunday's cornucopia

Nothing like forgetting to set your alarm to drop a jolt into your morning. I woke up at 7:15am on my own. I usually pick up fellow writer Hal McCoy to ride over to the complex at 7:30. So I had to cut some corners to get going but we still made it on time.

And because of that, here is your daily roughage of Reds news:

After a lousy 2008 where he was cut from two teams, outfielder Jacque Jones is hungry to prove himself. He got laser eye surgery and played winter ball in Mexico to find his stroke. He hit well down there.

“I wasn’t under contract with anybody. No one told me to go anywhere,” Jones said of winter ball. “I knew what I needed to do to play the game. I’ve never needed anyone to send me in the right direction for things I needed to do. I know what it takes.”

Jones is only 33 years old, which to manager Dusty Baker, means there should be plenty left. 

“Jacque can play,” Baker said. “He can play all three outfield positions. He can run. He hustles. He had a down year last year just like [Jonny] Gomes. But they have some track record of excellence. Just because you fall down for a while doesn’t mean you’re through, especially at the ages of those guys.”

More on that on later Sunday. In other news:

Baker said he hasn’t decided if SS Alex Gonzalez will play in the first exhibition game on Wednesday. Gonzalez is still doing well but the club is taking it easy with him as I wrote yesterday. During the season, the manager said Gonzalez would likely hit seventh or eighth because there is too much running on his left knee needed for him to bat second.

It’s possible that catcher Ramon Hernandez could get some time at first base to spell Joey Votto against a tough lefty. It would also open up some chances for backup Ryan Hanigan.

Non-roster catcher Humberto Cota finally straightened out his visa issues and reported to camp. It will be a short stay since Cota is expected to leave to play for Mexico in the WBC.

The Dominican Republic classic squad asked the Reds on Saturday for the services of pitching prospect Pedro Viola.

The Reds will have enough pitching for Tuesday’s intrasquad game to last five innings.

Between now and Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener at the Rays, Baker still has some things he’d like to get done — namely sliding drills.

“You probably get more injuries sliding than any other thing,” he said. “We have cut-off relays, pop-ups. You never get everything in because there are not enough days before the games. You try to get the most important stuff done early and add on as you play the games.”

Also highlighted was a comparison between the current camp location and the future one in Goodyear, Ariz.

“One drawback with Florida vs. Arizona is teams out there are so close that you can do a lot of your fundamentals and take your batting practice before you go [to road games],” Baker said. “You just go play the game. Here with the length of some of the trips, you’re lucky to have batting practice at their park. That’s about it. You do your work only at home games. Arizona, you work every day, home or road.”

And in the “they said it” department: Pitchers and infielders were working on situational stuff on a practice field. After Francisco Cordero was given a runner on first, two-out scenario, David Weathers was handed a runner on second with nobody out.

“You think that’s a sign of things to come?” joked Weathers. 

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