Sports on Earth's Howard Megdal spoke with Jay Bruce about his evolving hitting philosophy. I find it fascinating that Jay has been purposely attempting to hit more line drives, and I'm genuinely curious how much of that was brought on by his own thought processes. Jay's always seemed to be an intuitive player, but having Joey Votto in the same dugout for the bulk of his career has surely helped that cause's progression. I'm sure it's part simple-maturation, and it's also partly because he's been around enough to have a huge sample of what he's done right and what he's done wrong, but I'd love to hear how much Votto's hitting research has rubbed off on Bruce. Here's where I note again that since 2010, nobody has hit more extra base hits in the National League than Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, who are tied at the top of said list with 262 each.
Mark Sheldon's latest notebook entry for Reds.com is, unfortunately, injury-centric. Sheldon notes that Homer Bailey is still dealing with his groing issue, Sean Marshall is recovering slowly from his recurring shoulder problems, Brandon Phillips is physically over his wrist issue but still fighting the offensive issues that plagued him in the latter stages of 2013, and that the roster is in complete flux thanks to the amalgamation of them all. There's a legitimate chance that the Opening Day roster for the Cincinnati Reds will feature Alfredo Simon in the starting rotation, one of Chris Nelson or Ramon Santiago on the bench next to Skip Schumaker, and all three of Logan Ondrusek, Jose "Jumbo" Diaz, and Lee Hyde in the bullpen. That's not exactly a rousing concept, but given the severity of injuries flooding the baseball headlines of late, the Reds can - and should - consider their situation as a fortunate one, really. There's merely a fortnight left of this Spring Training, and fans aren't the only ones wishing it would scurry on a bit faster.
Speaking of Nelson, Sheldon spoke with him, too, about his Reds' Spring Training experiences. Nelson's a solid asset to have in the system, for sure, and there's plenty there to like about him (and enough to not entirely rule out a career resurgence), but I'm skeptical of the Reds willingness to bump someone from the 40-man roster to put him on the 25-man over, say, Neftali Soto, who can also play 3B and has no roster issues attached. Also, Sheldon notes that both Nelson and Brandon Phillips attended Redan High School in Georgia, but you'd already know that if you'd started taking your daily dose of Red Reporter prior to the 2013 season.
Remember when the Reds thought they had Grady Sizemore? Well, it didn't quite work out that way, and Sizemore opted to sign with the Boston Red Sox, and so far, he's looked like the bargain signing of the offseason. Sizemore had a big day yesterday both at the plate and in CF, and he's begun to shake enough "rust" off that the player who was once one of the five best in baseball has started shining through. With the litany of surgeries his body has absorbed, it's hard to contemplate what a successful return to baseball for him would represent, and while I'm thoroughly bummed that it won't be in a Reds uniform (if, in fact, he stays healthy enough for this to materialize), it's the kind of story that deserves it's own spotlight. A large spotlight, really, and it's one that the Reds have been fortunate enough to wield at least three times in recent memory. The Reds got a 3 WAR season and 26 HR from Eric Davis in 1996, a return (albeit with limited success) from Jose Rijo in 2001 following a five and a half year injury-induced absence, and 2.5 WAR and Edinson Volquez from their reach for Josh Hamilton in 2007. I hope Sizemore can pull it off...just preferably not May 6th and 7th.
Finally, here's to hoping umpire Brad Myers was able to get the beans back below the frank.