Our Reds look to bounce back after their first spring training defeat, losing to the Giants 4-3 yesterday. Today’s game against the Chicago Cubs is the first the Reds will play away from the friendly confines of Goodyear Ballpark. The game in Mesa begins at 3:05 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on WLW-700, with no television coverage. If you’re planning on going and don’t have a ticket, forget it. The Cubs have announced the game is sold out. Must be the buzz surrounding the Reds this year, or something else.

Here is today’s starting lineup for the good guys:

  1. Jake Cave CF
  2. Jose Peraza SS
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips 2B
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Scott Schebler DH
  7. Ivan De Jesus 3B
  8. Jesse Winker LF
  9. Tucker Barnhart C

The starting pitcher is Brandon Finnegan. Trevor Cahill will start for the Cubs.

Lineup Thoughts

Today reflects a continuation of Bryan Price playing his “starting” lineup (Votto, Phillips, Bruce) every-other day. Jake Cave gets a start in CF and returns to the leadoff spot. In three games, Cave has three hits and a walk in 11 plate appearances. He’s seeing a lot of pitches. Jose Peraza plays shortstop and bats second, which he did yesterday. Ivan De Jesus starts at third base, where he played 9 games for the Reds last season. And Jesse Winker gets the start in left field. /experiences tingling sensation when typing that sentence/

Yet to make an appearance are Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart. Here’s an educated guess about when they’ll see their first playing time: tomorrow (or Monday). I’m not sure this is a reliable guide, but last year Price held Joey Votto out of the first four games of spring training, generating a mini-panic about his health. Sunday and Monday’s games are at home in Goodyear. Price not starting them today avoided the 45 minute bus rides to Mesa. We haven’t seen a single report that Mesoraco and Cozart are anything other than perfectly healthy. See the Rosecrans article about Cozart below. Update: Mark Sheldon with a new report on Mesoraco.

The Reds have a “B” game scheduled this morning against the White Sox. B game lineups are comprised of third or fourth string players. They generally last 5 innings. The main reason to have B games right now is to get more live pitching opportunities. Robert Stephenson will start a B game on Monday. They aren’t the same thing as full split-squad games you’ll see later in March. Here’s the Reds B-game lineup: Alex Blandino SS, Ramon Cabrera DH, Juan Duran RF, Chad Wallach C, Donald Lutz LF, Brandon Dixon 2B , Seth Mejias-Brean 5, Chris O’Grady CF, Ray Chang 1B. Nick Travieso P. In addition to Travieso, Rookie Davis and Zack Wiess will pitch today.

Brandon Dixon was the third player in the Todd Frazier deal. Ray Chang played for Pensacola last year and has an interesting relationship with baseball in China.

News and Reading

• Baseball America finished their list of the top 352 prospects ranked within their positions. The Reds have more players ranked (19) than any other organization. Read Doug Gray’s breakdown of the BA lists:

The Reds stack up well against their National League Central foes. The Cardinals had 15 players ranked, as did the Brewers. The Pirates and Cubs both had 13 players ranked. In total, the National League Central dominated the other five divisions in these rankings. The Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates and Cubs all ranked in the top half of baseball in the total number of players that made the lists, totaling 75 players between the five clubs. The next best division was the National League East, which managed to have just 59 players listed.

• C. Trent Rosecrans (Enquirer) on Zack Cozart’s recovery:

So far this spring, Cozart’s work away from the game field has been mostly indistinguishable from other players.

“I feel amazing, I take my ground balls with (Barry) Larkin on the side after we stretch and that’s my best feedback I can get,” Cozart said. “People can watch me all the time, but I’m taking what Larkin is saying — he’s saying, ‘I”m watching you and I know what to look for as far as being tentative, and you’re not tentative at all. You’re going and getting it. You have that bounce and you’re athletic. That’s the key.’ When I do my stuff, I’m not thinking about my knee at all, I’m just playing. We’ll go from there. So far, I’m really excited where I’m at, no doubt.”

Reminder: Grant Freking post on Cozart rebuilding his trade value.

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Enquirer

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Enquirer

• Mark Sheldon (MLB.com) on the fast-rising Layne Somsen, a 26-year-old RHP who has a shot at the Reds bullpen this year:

Somsen, 26, has moved quickly through the system. After being taken in the 22nd round of the 2013 Draft by the Reds out of South Dakota State University, the Yankton, S.D., native reached Triple-A Louisville in less than three seasons. Last season at Double-A Pensacola and Louisville, he had a combined 2.74 ERA in 27 games with 62 1/3 innings, 47 hits, 30 walks, 60 strikeouts and a 1.235 WHIP. He missed time in June and July with a broken right toe from being hit by a comebacker.

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

• Zach Buchanan (Enquirer) on Jose Peraza:

The Reds got two other prospects in that trade – including outfielder Scott Schebler and infielder Brandon Dixon – but Peraza was one name who was included in conversations from the beginning. “We never really talked about trying to get somebody else,” pro scouting director Terry Reynolds said. As the Reds worked, ultimately unsuccessfully, to move second baseman Brandon Phillips in the offseason, Peraza seemed to be the heir apparent at second base. Instead, he’ll play all over the field if he makes the club, seeing action at second, short and center field during camp.

Reminder: Here’s our scouting report on Peraza written right after the trade.

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

• In news about former Reds, Andrew Baggerly (Mercury News) writes that Johnny Cueto’s first start with the San Francisco Giants has been pushed back to Wednesday because the Giants feel Cueto is behind in his preparation:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that Cueto was behind other pitchers during his throwing sessions and live batting practice, mostly because he did very little throwing after helping to pitch the Kansas City Royals to a World Series title last October. “That’s why we’re doing this,” Bochy said. “Obviously, we think he’s behind.”

Cueto signed a 6-year, $130 million contract with San Francisco this off-season.

Reminder: Here are the tributes we wrote about Cueto after he was traded (Mancuso, Freking). Justin Merry on the Cueto trade. Nick Doran asked if Cueto was the best Reds pitcher ever.