First, some late breaking good news: Cueto feels better and has been approved to throw again.
It's week 3 of spring training and I continue to be alternately charmed and enchanted. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is the site of today's game against the Rockies. I hate to engage in exoticism, but these names really are delightful. I'll tell you what isn't delightful - getting cut. We have our first purge of the spring. John Fay tells us that nine players are headed to the minor league camp: Philippe Valiquette, Daryl Thompson, Yasmani Grandal, Danny Dorn, Chris Denove, Jeremy Horst, Donnie Joseph, Matt Klinker and Justin Lehr. The only (very slight) surprise is Thompson, who's on the 40-man roster. I figured he'd stick around a little longer. I've been feeling around for a sleeper pick for the bullpen, but maybe I should confine those efforts to my bracket. (C'mon UNC-Asheville/Arkansas Little Rock. Your university may be located in two states, but you can unite for one game to justify my horrible pick).
Spring training action this week, especially on Thursday and Friday, is going to be overshadowed by light state gaming law violations and some amateur basketball competition. But there's a lot of spring baseball left to be played and some of it may even come to the brink of relevance. At the halfway point, we still don't know much. With cuts coming in waves, we're going to see more regulars. The results out there have been a noisy hall of smoke and mirrors, but the Reds have to go on something to make these cuts, including the key decisions on who will join the bullpen, rotation and outfield reserves. Inasmuch as spring performance is influential to Dusty and Co., these decisions could go any number of ways. I continue to root a little harder for the players I thought - prior to spring - were set-up well for 2011.
The Chapman is due to answer the Chap Signal today, pitching in relief along with Nick Masset, Bill Bray and Daniel Ray Herrera. As you'll see after the jump, the lineup, minus Alonso and the DH spot, is almost identical to what's expected on Opening Day