The Cincinnati Reds entered spring training with a rather large group of players auditioning for the starting shortstop gig. That crew included Kyle Farmer, Kyle Holder, Jose Garcia, Alex Blandino, and perhaps Dee Strange-Gordon. The big league coaching staff has not seen much of any of these guys play shortstop. Jose Garcia and Kyle Holder have spent much of their career at the position, but Garcia’s time in the big leagues represents all of their time at the level as a shortstop. Blandino, Farmer, and Strange-Gordon have some, but very limited experience at shortstop in the big leagues over the last few years. There’s only so many games to go around, and David Bell expects to trim down some of the options shortly to maximize the looks for those who will remain in the competition as starters.
“We’re not at that point yet (of trimming down the options), but yeah, I think in the next week,” said Bell on Monday afternoon. “I think it’ll be a necessity because of the amount of innings we have to work with to get everyone ready. Not that any decisions will be made – I think it would be wise to not rush that decision, but at the same time we do need to prioritize the playing time over the next week.”
Beginning next week it will be interesting to see how things start going when it comes to the names written in the lineup with the word shortstop next to it. Opening Day is three weeks and two days away. Even another week feels like it may be too much time to keep guys getting regular repetitions there who aren’t going to be the guy. Outside of Garcia and Holder, none of these guys are regular shortstops in the recent past. Whoever is going to be the shortstop, if it’s not going to be one of those two guys (and it certainly could be), they are going to need as much time there before the season begins as they can get.
Tejay Antone and Jeff Hoffman look strong on Monday
The Cincinnati Reds also have a big group of pitchers that are trying to win a spot in the rotation. With two spots seemingly up for grabs, the competition has been fierce early on. On Monday Tejay Antone got the start and was followed by Jeff Hoffman – both pitchers trying to land in the rotation. Antone allowed two hits in 3.0 innings with no walks and he struck out three batters. Hoffman, who struggled a bit his first time out, rebounded well on the afternoon. He tossed 3.0 shutout innings while giving up three hits, walking no one, and striking out four batters.