Checking in on Spring Training

Is there a more frustrating time in sports than spring training? You might ask me if I’ve ever heard of pre-season football – I have. It doesn’t hold a candle to the prolonged anticipation of a preseason that’s played nearly 2,000 miles away, fully enhanced with 2-inning scrimmages and “B” games. Pitchers and catchers report in late February. The Opening Day Parade doesn’t begin for about another month.

Although, judging by the amount of line-up complaints John Fay has already been receiving on Twitter, you’d think we’re a week away from the All-Star Break. What’s wrong with you people?

It’s nice to check in on the The Club every now and then, just to see how things are coming together. Who is showing early signs of improvement? Who treated this offseason like a prolonged furlough?

So far, the Reds have played five games. They’ve managed to win a couple, lose a couple, and tie the Tribe. Who cares. It’s the individual performances that I like to check in on this time of year. Not the wins. Not the losses. Not the lineup. How are some of the guys looking early on?

Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo took the mound the other day against the Padres and promptly gave up a home run to former Red Jeremy Hermida. Hope this isn’t news. The sky is blue. Grass is green. Fire is hot, and Bronson Arroyo gives up a lot of home runs. But other than the one dinger surrendered, Bronson had a pretty decent day. Three innings, one run, one walk. Not a bad day, especially considering the fact he was initially on scheduled to throw two innings, but was awarded a third based on efficiency.

Jay Bruce

Don’t look now, but after six at-bats, Jay Bruce is leading your Reds in BA, OBP and SLG. OK, so none of that matters right now, but it’s worth noting that Bruce has reported to camp nearly 16 pounds lighter, which says to me, common fan, that he’s taking this big time contract and big time expectations seriously. You have to feel good about how he’s shown up to Arizona.

Drew Stubbs

Drew Stubbs has struck out once  in seven ABs.  And there’s your Drew Stubbs fix for the day.

He does have four hits and two walks.  Plate discipline/bunting had to have been this kid’s focus on the off-season.  I’ll be keeping up to see how that’s coming along.

Chris Heisey

For everything that spring training doesn’t mean, to some players, it means the difference between starting and platooning. I’ll be keeping up with Chris Heisey because he’s literally become the embodiment of fan discontent with current Reds manager Dusty Baker. Why isn’t he starting? Free Chris Heisey. Dusty Baker only favors veterans.

For more Dusty Baker nonsense, simply open Twitter on your smart phone and search.

Chris Heisey needs to make this spring his if he wants to finally become the starter in LF. Right now, he’s had the second most ABs this spring (8) and he’s amassed just one hit. He leads the team in Ks with 4. Now, again, we’re talking eight ABs. But spring training may be more important to Heisey than any other player on the team. And before we get to the first lineup complaint on Opening Day about why Heisey, potentially, isn’t starting, readers of Blog Red Machine are going to know why. The starting job is his for the taking. In a position that was divided between three players last season, he remains the sole survivor of that 2011 campaign.

So before you get #FreeHeisey trending nationally on Twitter, make sure you know why he’s being detained in the first place.

Tags: Baseball Bronson Arroyo Chris Heisey Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker Jay Bruce Spring Training

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