From John Fay:

The Reds didn’t bunt Saturday with runners at first and second and no outs with Jeff Keppinger at the plate.

Beginning next week, they probably will in that situation.

“We’ll start playing more fundamental baseball,” Baker said. “. . . Right now, at-bats are precious.”

Bunt, bunt, bunt…ugh.

Jerry Hairston Jr. was back in camp Sunday – a lot lighter for the wear.

Hairston lost 10 pounds or so during a nasty bout with the flu that he picked up in Mexico City while playing with the Mexican team in the World Baseball Classic.

“It was definitely the worst I’ve had,” he said. “I was unbelievably sick.”

Hairston didn’t have a lot of weight to spare. He was very lean at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds before the illness.

“He looks like a little bird walking around here,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Hairston said he caught the bug after the second game of the WBC.

“I tried to play in the third game,” he said. “But I had to come out. I was dehydrated, light-headed.”

That’s the last Hairston has played – on March 11. After Mexico was eliminated, he returned to his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., to recuperate. The Reds urged him to stay away so as to not infect anyone else.

The Reds will take it fairly slowly with Hairston – given that he hasn’t had any baseball activity in 11 days.

He did not make the trip to Bradenton for Sunday’s game with Pittsburgh. He stayed back to work out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

“I’m going to take some batting practice, some ground balls,” he said. “I’m hoping to play after the off day.”

The off day is Tuesday.

Hairston played both shortstop and center field for Mexico. Hairston is the backup plan at shortstop, if Alex Gonzalez should have a setback.

“We’re going to work him in the outfield and the infield,” Baker said, “mainly short, in case something happens. Gonzo isn’t going to play every day. We’ve got to have him ready.”

Gonzalez has yet to play nine innings.

“Gonzo says he feels great,” Baker said. “He wanted to go nine (Saturday). The fact that he wanted to go nine tells me how he feels.”

Gonzalez has looked excellent at shortstop.

“Doesn’t he look good?” Baker said. “He’s smooth.”

Despite the ending, Hairston enjoyed the WBC experience.

“Playing for Mexico with my brother (Scott), with my mom there, was unbelievable,” Hairston said. “The people were really into the games. Even for the exhibition in Tucson, the crowds were great because it’s so close,” he said.

Let’s hope it’s just the flu and nothing worse or longer lasting. And am I the only one that finds it troubling that a) our starting SS hasn’t played 9 innings yet and Opening Day is 2 weeks away and b) our manager says that he won’t be playing every day?