It’s always fun day when a few of the Reds minor leaguers are invited over to big league camp to serve as base runners during “run-down” drills.  It’s got to be a thrill for those kids as they get to share the same field with the Major Leaguers that they aspire to be.

Plus, it’s a fun drill to watch.  A coach sets up the random scenarios, including which bases are occupied, how many outs there are and what inning it is.  The minor league runners take their bases and are instructed to run as if  they are in a game situation.  The drill begins when the coach hits the ball to a random infielder.  The idea is to get an out, preferably by cutting down the lead runner who is trying to advance.  It’s not unlike what you and I used to do in Little League practice; the fundamentals are still the same.

At the conclusion of today’s workouts, a very spirited edition of batting practice took place between Chris Nelson and Rossmel Perez, two non-roster invitees.  Both players have been working hard in camp and have been virtually “tied” in their hitting drills.  In order to break that “tie,” they squared off in the batting cage.  Most of the Reds position players were behind the cage watching and taking sides.  Team Nelson was on one side of the cage while Team Rossmel was on the other.  It was loud, it was rowdy and it was fun.  Pitching coach Jeff Pico threw to the hitters while batting coach Don Long “kept score.”  The “winner” will be announced tomorrow.   It might sound silly but it was a pretty good exercise in team-building.

Phoenix hasn’t sipped a single drop of rain since December 20, a span of 65 days without precipitation.  There’s a 40% chance of rain here in the Valley during the overnight hours on Friday and a 70% chance of rain on Saturday.

The Reds begin their 2014 Cactus League season tomorrow vs. the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.  First pitch is scheduled for 3;05 pm Cincinnati time.  Reds hurlers who are expected to pitch include: Alfredo Simon, Pedro Beato, Trevor Bell, Daniel Corcino, Tim Crabbe, Ismael Guillon Drew Hayes, Lee Hyde, Curtis Partch and Chad “Shark” Rogers.

Enjoy the photos!

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