Items from Reds spring training:

Bryan Price talks about leadership on the club. Points out that it has to be organic, not forced. Discussion of Todd Frazier playing that role. Also Marlon Byrd. If that’s my team, I want Devin Mesoraco leading the charge. That’s one of the reasons I liked the contract extension he and the club finalized a month ago. It enhanced his stature on the team. (Fay)

“I am a firm believer in leadership,” Price said. “But I also know from my experience that telling someone to be a leader is completely different than having someone who has inherent leadership ability. What we’re trying to do is free up that ability. We’re trying to get away from feeling like the oldest, most-established players have to have that responsibility if it’s not within who they are, if it’s not within their temperament.”

Homer Bailey talks about his elbow, rehab and getting into shape with Hal McCoy.

Bailey remains optimistic about a quick comeback and said after a workout Monday, “I feel better every second.” He is relegated to long tossing for now and was smiling Monday after throwing the ball hard at 230 feet, “With no pain and no repercussions.” While he can’t pitch off the mound, his day is busy — shoulder strengthening, elbow strengthening, weight lifting, running and feed the horses. “Throwing off the mound is going to be pretty soon,” he said. “I’ve talked with (trainer) Paul Lessard and (manager) Bryan Price after long-tossing today and I’m saying it will be within this week.” But every day he throws, Bailey cautiously awaits any reactions the next day and so far his arm has remained attached to his shoulder and his elbow doesn’t throb, so all is good.

C. Trent Rosecrans has a long interview with Jesse Winker (podcast).

The other thing that struck me in our conversation is how much Winker loves and respects his family, his parents and two brothers. The youngest of three, he still looks up to his older brothers and is in awe of the sacrifices his parents made for both of them. In a day and age when it’s easy to forget that players on the field and on TV are actually human, Winker reminds us he’s like us, he knows where he came from and how, and just how lucky he is to be in this situation.

Jay Bruce is healthy and looking to be better than ever. (Fay)

Bruce turns 28 three days from Opening Day, but he’s 11th on the Reds’ all-time home run list with 182. He’s hit more home runs (174) than any right fielder in the majors over the last seven seasons. He has the second most RBI (522) of any right fielder in the majors over that same period. Bruce is enormously talented. He has a powerful arm, an electric power bat and he runs well. “No question, the talent’s there,” (hitting coach Don) Long said. “The desire to be great is there. He has all ingredients to make himself a great player. He works hard. Even though he’s done some great things, he wants to get better.”

Final reactions to the Mat Latos statement:

From Bronson Arroyo: “Mat speaks his mind. Mat’s also a guy who, depending on the day you catch him, you can get completely different answers, because if he’s agitated by something, he’s going to let you know how he feels at the time and it doesn’t always encompass how he feels every single day,” Arroyo said. (Rosecrans)

From Brayan Peña (with video): Pena called the accusations “lies” and was most upset Latos aired any grievances publicly. “It was sorry,” Pena added. “It was sorry to read that. If you had an issue, you have to go out there and face it like a man. Don’t hide behind a newspaper or a mic.” (Danneman, FOX19)

Peña added: “Our team chemistry is amazing…there is no weakest link. The one that was weak is no longer here.” That’s Latos. (Danneman)

Joey Votto’s batting practice, including video (Fay)

The Reds are in the midst of their first full-squad workout right now. Everyone, including Joey Votto, is fully participating. Votto took ground balls, played first during the fundamental drills and hit in the cage. … Votto looked like Votto when hitting.

New Reds reliever Burke Badenhop knows exactly what his role will be on the team. (Sheldon)

“Any time before Aroldis,” Badenhop replied, referring to closer Aroldis Chapman. “When I go out there 70 times in the year, I have to bring it physically and mentally. I like to have fun, be in charge, be in control and stuff like that. I’m not your average reliever.”

The last two items aren’t about spring training per se, but concern issues near and dear to any Reds fan’s heart and mind.

First, on the faux controversy about Joey Votto hitting style, Jesse Spector of the Sporting News takes on the value of Votto’s walks in a unique way. When Votto arrived in camp this week, he was asked about criticism of his plate approach. Votto termed that viewpoint really silly and ignorant.

Also, C. Trent Rosecrans asks new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred about reinstating Pete Rose (video).


[Thumbnail art by the legendary Ralph Steadman.]