Robert Stephenson has been cleared to throw off a mound. (Fay)

A hometown newspaper wrote about Kristopher Negron and the player’s desire to repeat his 2014 performance with the Reds. (Fairfield Daily Republic)

Was Negron surprised by his resurgence at the plate? “Kind of, yeah,” he said. “Everything went so well, I finished out strong. I knew if I ever got the opportunity I’d make the most of it. I couldn’t say (I expected) the numbers, but I always play my hardest, give it everything I have. I worked my tail off and good things happened last year.” You know good things have happened when you can’t narrow a best moment of the season down to just one. His first hit of the season, a home run with his wife in the stands watching, was cool. So was his four-hit game in Colorado with his parents and grandma in attendance. And then there was that home run in his final at-bat of the season.

The Reds new left fielder, Marlon Byrd, talks about his role on the team and the batting order. (Rosecrans)

Position players don’t report to camp until Monday and will have their first workout on Tuesday, so any talk of lineups are far away, but that doesn’t mean Byrd hasn’t looked. He said he pretty much knows he won’t be leading off – that will go to Billy Hamilton. In the lineup he’s penciled in, he sees Brandon Phillips second and Joey Votto third – and after that, it’s up in the air.

“From that point on, being able to shuffle four-through-seven, eight isn’t bad,” he said. “I think the cool thing is, I was looking and you have a lineup of two through seven capable of hitting 30 home runs, no matter how you mix and match.” I don’t know if (Todd) Frazier hit 30 (he hit 29 last season). Brandon’s hit 30, Votto’s hit 30, (Jay) Bruce has 30. I have 25, and I’m hoping for 30 at some point before I retire. I don’t think it really matters how you make the lineup, as long as there is no selfishness as far as where guys are hitting.”

Bryan Price discusses the balance between Tony Cingrani staying healthy while not changing his delivery too much. (Rosecrans)

Quoting Price: “Last year, he (Cingrani) wasn’t healthy and he struggled with command, and probably struggled with command because he wasn’t healthy. We definitely discussed that his arm needs to be up in time or it’s going to put more load on his shoulder and he’s going to feel it. That’s an area that we’ll be focusing on over the course of the spring and throughout the season.

Joey Votto addresses his health and that other stuff. (Sheldon)

Votto wasn’t ready to proclaim himself 100 percent or without limitations. He did spend the winter home in Toronto and was able to hit, throw, field and run — calling it a “big contrast” from where he was at the end of last season. “I haven’t gone through the evaluation process with the strength staff and the [physical therapy] staff and the doctor and obviously, the baseball people,” he said. “If I get a couple of days under my belt and get the [evaluations] done, I think we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at. As far as how I feel now, I feel good.”

In case you missed it, the Sheldon article carries the recent quote from Pete Rose about Votto’s hitting style:

“Joey Votto is just a good, pure hitter,” Rose told USA Today on Feb. 11. “Why should he swing at balls out of the strike zone? Joe Morgan never did. Mike Schmidt didn’t swing at balls out of the zone. Ted Williams didn’t either. If Joey Votto was on the Big Red Machine, nobody would say anything. Joey Votto gets on base, and as long as you score 100 runs or drive in 100, you’re doing your job.”