Two days left in spring training and I received my assignment today:  starter for the Carolina Mudcats.  I left the complex on Thursday thinking my chances of breaking with Louisville were about 50/50.  I felt good about my performance in camp, but with the number of guys still in big league camp fighting for the fifth spot, I had a sinking feeling things were about to flow downhill.

The talk around the clubhouse has been how hard the decisions have been this spring, and how late those decisions are being made.  Obviously players are anxious about which team they will be with, or if they are breaking camp at all.  The earlier guys know, the easier the logistical issues of housing, transportation, etc. become.  The degree of difficultly finalizing the rosters this year is definitely a good problem for an organization to have.  Other teams around Major League Baseball wished they had the log jam the Reds have at the top-end.  Players have to remember that this is a business and being able to go anywhere at a moment’s notice is definitely in the job description.

I’m very excited about this season.  Would it have been nice to start in Louisville?  Sure.  However, regardless of location or level, I will be taking the ball every fifth day with the mindset of getting better every time out.  Joe Ayrault said it best, “You’re not pitching well, until you’re pitching well in the big leagues.”

Highlights from camp:

– The curve ball is a little harder to throw in Arizona.  Drier conditions make getting a consistent grip difficult; a little pine tar or sticky spray helped alleviate that problem.

– Pants down this year throughout the farm system is a great thing, although I will be sticking to pants up on the days I throw.  I have a feeling the “well-groomed” facial hair rule might not last long if players begin to abuse the rule after heading to our affiliates.

-  The new complex is extremely nice.  Very easy to tell there was a lot of dialogue that went into the layout of the entire complex.  The space is used very efficiently and effectively.

Thank you for staying updated on my progress and enjoy another wonderful baseball season!