Hands up if you think Spring Training is a week too long. Yeah, I agree. I'm so ready for real baseball I can hardly stand it. The good news is, as of press time, we are less than 72 hours away from games that count, and there don't seem to be many (or any) decisions left to be made.
Ramon Hernandez showed yesterday that the arm is OK (for now. He's almost 35 and has a lot of wear on his body. I'll be shocked if this elbow thing isn't a recurring issue), and all signs indicate that Jose Arredondo will start the year on the disabled list. That basically leaves the rotation and bullpen set with only the 25th man spot up in the air. Since Jeremy Hermida has been cut, I find it very hard to believe that Fred Lewis won't get the spot, but talk is that it could go to Juan Francisco. This would obviously be a decision based on the assumption that Old Man Rolen is going to need a lot of spelling at 3B in the early (cold) going, and that the team would like more offense there than Older Man Cairo can provide.
I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think that, in limited doses, END can be an effective majore league hitter, and he certainly has more offensive upside than Cairo. Still, Fred Lewis really should get the spot. It's not his fault the Reds chose the substandard Cairo to be Rolen's primary backup, and the team really could use another left handed outfielder (assuming END can't hack it there. A safe assumption, methinks)
Which brings me to my last point. How long of a leash is Jonny Gomes going to get? I get that you can't tell much from spring training stats, and they should never be given too much importance when making roster decisions. (a concept the Reds clearly agree with, given the recent cuts of ST studs Sappelt, Hermida, and others) Still, it seems obvious to everyone but Dusty that Gomes shouldn't be given the every day job, and with so many other viable candidates, how long will Gomes be allowed to struggle before he loses significant playing time?
Ok, I lied. THIS is my last point. Your friend and mine BK mentioned yesterday on Twitter:
We're less than a week away from live baseball EVERY DAY for 6 months. Awesome.
Why is this relevant? Because it's a long season, folks. Do you all remember the most pressing issues coming out of camp last year? Nah, me either. I have to remind myself that stuff like injuries, position battles, and the like tend to work themselves out over 162 games. What is definite is that this team is the defending NLC champs, they still have the reigning MVP (who honestly thinks he can do better), an MVP in waiting in RF, and depth that any club would envy. For these last 2 games, just hope and pray for no more injuries.