The long term weather forecast for Opening Day in Cincinnati is 71 degrees with only 20 percent chance of rain. And that’s only *six* days away!

Joey Votto is determined to swing at fewer pitches in the strike zone, according to Eno Sarris at FanGraphs. Votto also says he gets better pitches to hit when Billy Hamilton is on base (so get on base, Billy!) which argues for batting Votto second, behind Hamilton, to maximize that connection.

Mostly good news, for a change, on the injury front. Homer Bailey pitched five relatively pain-free innings yesterday. Mat Latos had an even better experience over three. Jonathan Broxon pitched one. John Fay column and video interviews with Bailey and Latos. Mark Sheldon’s notebook on same. Johnny Cueto is scheduled to throw six innings in a minor league game today. The Reds have assured us that Cueto’s recent shoulder twinge that caused them to cancel Cueto’s last appearance is unrelated to his lat muscle issues that put the pitcher on the DL three times last season.

A couple new baseball books are hitting the shelves. Pete Rose: An American Dilemma from Kostya Kennedy takes another swing at biography of our hometown hero, ultimately arguing for Rose’s admission to the Hall of Fame. You can read a review by Craig Fehrman (a follower of Redleg Nation) in the Wall Street Journal. And Johan Keri has written Up, Up & Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos.

The Reds exhibition game in Louisville on Saturday night is sold out.

In delicious news, the Reds now have an official waffle. Waffles from The Taste of Belgium will be sold in Great American Ball Park near my seat (along first base line) this year. Fans can choose a plain waffle, a waffle with chocolate and whipped cream, a waffle with fried chicken and a waffle with fries. Yum.