Reds Spring Training Update: Elly De La Cruz, Nick Lodolo, Jose Barrero

The Reds' bats are beginning to heat up, but the pitchers have been rocked.

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Elly De La Cruz (44) at bat
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Elly De La Cruz (44) at bat / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds spring training is in full swing. The Reds have a little more than a week's worth of games under their belt, and after watching some dominant pitching performances through the first week of Cactus League action, it would appear as though the hitters are catching up.

The first time through the "rotation", every single starter vying for a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster pitched a scoreless frame or two, and looked to be making David Bell's decision rather difficult.

The roster decisions will still be difficult, but not for the right reasons. Carson Spiers, Nick Martinez, Brandon Williamson, and Hunter Greene were all roughed up a bit over the past couple of days with that quartet giving up a grand total of nine runs in their collective 10.1 innings pitched. But Reds camp has also seen some big outbursts of power at the plate as well.

Reds SS Elly De La Cruz crushed his 1st HR of the spring

Reds fans have been waiting to see Elly De La Cruz send one out of the ballpark this spring, and he did so with authority during Saturday's game against the Colorado Rockies. De La Cruz's first at-bat saw him launch a 470-foot blast that came off the bat at 111.7 mph according to Baseball Savant.

De La Cruz mashed 13 round-trippers during his rookie season in 2023. The shortstop's first home run last season came off the bat at 114.8 mph and travelled all the way to top of Moon Deck at Great American Ball Park (458 feet). Saturday's blast was just a touch longer.

Reds LHP Nick Lodolo is "not perfect yet"

Nick Lodolo, who only appeared in seven games for the Reds last season, threw a live bullpen late last week. His teammates walked away impressed, with second baseman Jonathan India calling Lodolo's repertoire disgusting.

But there's still work to be done before the Cincinnati faithful see Lodolo pitch in a game this spring. According to Bell, via Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Lodolo is able to pitch without pain, but the recovery is not perfect yet. Bell also said that there was no major concern.

Is it possible for something to be encouraging, yet discouraging at the same time? If so, that's the takeaway from Bell's comments. Realistically, Lodolo is still behind the other pitchers in camp, and it may be into the regular season before Reds fans see the left-hander back on the hill for Cincinnati.

Reds OF Jose Barrero is hitless this spring

If there's one player who needed a hot start this spring, it was Jose Barrero. The shortstop broke camp with the big league club last spring, but was unable to maintain his roster spot and was optioned back to the minor leagues for the rest of the 2023 season.

So far this spring, Barrero is 0-for-5 with two walks and two strikeouts. Barrero is out of minor-league options, so if he doesn't make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, he'll be exposed to waivers and may not remain with the organization if another team submits a claim.

Rather than playing shortstop, Barrero has spent most of the spring in the outfield, with one start in center field and two in right. The 25-year-old is in a tightly-contested battle for the final roster spot with the likes of Stuart Fairchild, Bubba Thompson, Josh Harrison, and Tony Kemp.

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