Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some spring training tidbits & notes

Can you believe March is a mere one week away? Leap year or not, February has flown by and it's almost time for the Reds to delve into their slate of Spring Training games. Here are some tidbits and notes from the past week to help you get caught up on things:

* Outfielder Jay Bruce reported to camp weighing about 16 pounds less than he did last season. The All-Star hopes his slimmer physique will make him a bit faster and also help him get through the season better. "I thought that 15 or 16 fewer pounds on my body would help me get through the season. I have never been a speed guy but this might make me a little faster," said Bruce.

* Right-hander Bronson Arroyo went to great lengths this offseason to try and get some velocity back on his fastball. He altered his workout program to add more flexibility to his back and hips and stuck to a strict meal plan as well. "This is as healthy as I’ve been in a long time", said the 35-year old.

* Manager Dusty Baker has already gone on record proclaiming that Johnny Cueto will be the Opening Day starter. Baker said the right-hander earned the nod based not only off of last year's performance, but by how he matches up to others team's starters as well.

* Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman is preparing as a starter this preseason. There was much speculation during the winter that the club would consider keeping him in the bullpen, but that's not the case now. When asked if the team would consider sending him to Triple-A to start the year Baker said, “I don’t know,” Baker said. “We’ve got to see when we get there. It depends on our needs. I’m not opposed to going with three lefties in the bullpen. Not at all.”

* There's no denying that the franchise views Devin Mesoraco as their catcher of the future. However, Baker isn't ready to hand over the reins to the youngster just yet. Said Baker: “I haven’t seen enough of him [yet]. He’s one of two. Eventually, he’s going to be No. 1.”

* Second basemen Brandon Phillips says he hasn't heard anything new regarding his contract extension since before Redsfest, which was the beginning of December. “It is what it is. The only thing I can do is go out there and play the game, do what’s best for the team....My day will come. I’m not really worried about it....I just want what other second baseman got. I want to be in my city. They’ve taken me in. I’ve got a house there.” said Phillips on the situation.

* Third basemen Juan Francisco is being held out of drills due to a strained calf. He's expected to return to baseball activities soon though.

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