Reds start spring training, Bailey critical of timing
ASHLAND -- The Cincinnati Reds report to spring training Feb. 14 in Goodyear, Ariz., but pitcher Homer Bailey certainly is not in love with the idea.
Bailey said Saturday during a Reds Caravan visit to Fannin Motors that six weeks of spring training is far too long. One month, he said, would be plenty of time to prepare for the season.
"It's not like the old days," Bailey said. "Guys show up to spring training in shape, now. For me, it's a struggle not to stay in top shape in spring training."
In "the old days," the players didn't make the salaries today's players earn. The Major League minimum is $400,000 and Bailey made more than $5 million last season. Most players prior to the 1970s worked jobs outside of the baseball season. Selling insurance or driving taxis didn't leave much time to get in baseball shape, so six weeks of spring training helped players build up the stamina needed for a 162-game season.
"Players now are much stronger and more physically fit," Bailey said. "We can work out all year round. We don't need as much time to get ready."
RUN, REDS, RUN: Reds manager Bryan Price said one key difference in his philosophy and that of the man he replaced, Dusty Baker, is how aggressive he expects his team to be on the bases.
"We need to do a better job going from first to third," Price said. "We need to do a better job scoring from second base, getting bunts down. We need to increase our intensity."
Reds fans likely will be pleased to hear Price's comments on playing more intense baseball.
Last season, the Reds lost their final seven games, including a one-game playoff at Pittsburgh. Through many of those games, especially the loss to the Pirates, the ball club appeared to be going through the motions.
"We kind of fell flat at the end of the year," Price said. "We need to finish strong."
PRICE ADMIRES BAKER: Price said he learned a great deal from Baker and he considers the manager who led the Reds to three playoff appearances in four seasons a tough act to follow.
"Well, he won 1,500 games and I've won zero," said Price, who was Baker's pitching coach. "Dusty had an awful lot of success. I know I'm better after having been around him."
ASHLAND CONNECTION: Price is a good friend with Ashland native and former Major League pitcher Brandon Webb.
Price was a pitching coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks, for which Webb played from 2003 through 2009. Both live in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Price helped Webb try to return from a series of shoulder injuries, but the former University of Kentucky standout couldn't regain the velocity needed to resume his career.
"Brandon made every effort to make a comeback," Price said. "He did everything before he realized it just wasn't going to happen. He's a tremendous guy."
DOWN ON THE FARM: Price said he is pleased with the starting pitching depth the Reds have added to the minor leagues during the offseason.
Cincinnati signed free agents Jeff Francis and Chien-Ming Wang. The Reds also acquired promising lefthander David Holmberg from Arizona in a three-team trade that sent catcher Ryan Hannigan to Tampa Bay.
"It's good to have those guys available," Price said. 'You're going to need pitching depth and we're pleased to have these guys."
Wang, 33, signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Wang was a standout with the New York Yankees from 2005 through 2008, going 54-20 with a 3.79 earned run average.
Injuries, though, since have hindered Wang's comeback attempts with Washington and Toronto. Last season with Toronto, Wang went 1-2 with a 7.67 ERA
Francis, 33, went 3-5 with a 6.27 ERA last season for the Colorado Rockies.
Holmberg, 22, Went 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA at Class AA Mobile last season. He made one appearance with the Diamondbacks, but was not involved in the decision.
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.