Some interesting comments from manager Dusty Baker regarding young 1B Joey Votto:

But early comments from Baker suggest the guard could change this year.

“What’s Hatteberg? Thirty-eight?” Baker said. “Votto’s the future here. I talked to Hatteberg about Votto. He thinks he’s going to be a heck of a player. He’s not conceding his position. … I think he understands to be part of the club that Votto might have to be a major part of it. It might be Votto’s time.”

It’s no secret that one of the major concerns over the hiring of Baker as Reds manager was that the Reds have a pretty good crop of youngsters, and Baker has a demonstrated aversion to playing young guys. That said, the above comments are encouraging. I love Scott Hatteberg, and he has become one of my favorite Reds, but it’s time for Votto to move into the starting lineup.

As for Baker, we’ll see how he manages once the season starts, but you have to admit that he’s mostly been saying all the right things since he was hired (well, except for that gibberish about Cory Patterson being a good option as a leadoff hitter). I disagreed with the hiring, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We’ll wait and see….