Spring Training was originally designed for players who had to work real jobs to make ends meet in the off-season, and thus didn’t have a whole lot of time during the winter months to keep their conditioning up and their skills sharp. Nowadays players don’t need “real jobs” in the off-season and most of them train and condition year-round.
However, Spring Training is still a necessary travail. Does it last longer than it should? Probably. But the season will not (and shouldn’t) begin any earlier than what it does now. If players are getting in shape in the off-season anyway, why not do it with teammates in state-of-the-art facilities in warm weather climates?
More importantly, Spring Training gives us all a welcome escape from salt trucks, snow shovels and ice scrapers!
Many of the Reds core starters took batting practice today and if I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought today was July 20 instead of February 20. The guys were blistering the ball; lasers and bombs. It appeared as if they could play an important game today and look sharp doing so.
Below are some photos from that batting practice…
Each year, early in Spring Training, the Reds dedicate a morning to have their pictures taken. Today was that day. Each Red in camp scoots through a gauntlet of stops to have his photo taken for various outlets (scoreboard, baseball cards, MLB.com, local newspaper, Associated Press, etc, etc, etc).
The photo “stations” are set up inside and outside, throughout the Reds facility in Goodyear. The players move from station to station, in full uniform, ready to flash their pearly whites (not an easy task at 7 o’clock in the morning).
Here are some highlights…
The day finally arrived in which position players joined the pitchers and catchers for the first full squad #Reds workout in Goodyear, AZ.
Following this morning’s physicals, a team meeting with manager Bryan Price took place in the Reds clubhouse. After that, it was time to take the field!
Below are some photos, but first, don’t forget to include #JoeyVotto and #FaceOfMLB in all of your tweets today!
More Reds position players are filing in to the Spring Training complex in Goodyear. Jay Bruce arrived today. Everyone is expected in camp tomorrow. Following physicals, the full squad will work-out at the Reds facility.
“Media Day” at Chase Field takes place this afternoon with all of the Cactus League managers and GMs, including the Reds’ Bryan Price and Walt Jocketty. I’ll be on hand with camera in tow.
The big topic over the last 36 hours has been Homer Bailey and the rumor he is close to signing a long-term deal with the club. Nothing has been settled yet, and Bailey’s arbitration hearing is still scheduled for Thursday in Tampa.
I’m ready for games to start. The workouts, as you may have been able to tell by the photographs, have fallen into routine but the players continue to bust their butts. I obviously don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I think Bryan Price is going to bring a very healthy and fresh attitude to the team culture. I’m anxious to see it develop and watch the players get on board with it.
I predicted yesterday on Twitter that Devin Mesoraco has a breakout year. No real reason behind that prediction other than gut-feeling. Others I chatted with think Jay Bruce is in for a really good season. Who’s YOUR #RedToRock in 2014?
Enjoy Tuesday’s photos…
Sunday marked the first overcast day in Arizona since I got here last week…(not complaining so please don’t throw anything at me!)
Reds camp spent most of its focus today on pitchers fielding practice, or “PFP” for short. It’s the less glamorous part of camp in which players sharpen up on fundamentals, such as knowing what base to throw to, getting off the mound to take a throw at first, backing up throws, etc etc etc.
New Reds pitching coach Jeff Pico wore a microphone for Fox Sports Ohio during today’s workouts. I’m anxious to see/hear the footage. In regards to Pico and the rest of the new coaching staff, I’m already smitten with these guys. They’ve been very kind and accommodating and I think they’re going to be pretty good for the Cincinnati Reds. I spoke to bench coach Jay Bell today and he’s an incredible guy, too. I remember Bryan Price telling me after the Caravan that the coaching staff is going to be a tight-knit, good group – I’m finding out just that.
Speaking of Price (and the random conversations that occur during Spring Training), he introduced me today to the tragic story of Rick Stevens, the former lead singer of Tower of Power. Crazy stuff.
We’ve had a few reporters from Taiwan here in Goodyear following non-roster pitcher Chien-Ming Wang. After some very good seasons with the Yankees, Wang fell on tough times and bounced around trying to regain his form. National baseball writer for the New York Times, Tyler Kepner told me he remembers when it all went south for Wang. The Yankees were playing the Astros in an interleague game a few years ago when, rounding third base, Wang severely injured his foot. He wasn’t the same after the injury. Here’s hoping, as a Red, he rediscovers the success that made him a 2-time 19-game winner in New York.
Nice to hang out last night with two of my good pals and fellow NL Central colleagues, Mike Vassallo (Brewers) and Jason Carr (Cubs). We took in a WWE event at the US Airways Arena in Phoenix. Great seats in the second row presented us with a hilarious moment (at least for Jason and I) when one of the beautiful female wrestlers (Summer Rae) snarled at Vassallo and said “NO CHANCE” before waving him off with an exaggerated look of disgust.
Enjoy the photos. Time for me to do some laundry…
Compared to yesterday, Day Two of workouts for Reds pitchers and catchers was a piece of cake.
The guys got their work in on the field and in the gym.
Mat Latos was at the facility today getting treatment on his left knee. For a guy who just had surgery a day ago, he looked great. He’s walking without a limp and was able to balance on his surgically repaired left leg without any issues. Latos said he feels comfortable and hasn’t even needed to take pain medication.
Todd Frazier reported to camp and took some grounders and hit in the cage. Same ol’ Frazier; laughing and joking with the guys.
Johnny Cueto today celebrates his 28th birthday.
I’ll have more tomorrow!