Greetings from inside the Reds’ minor league spring training camp.

I flew into Sarasota-Bradenton Airport on Friday, February 29, but wanted to give myself a little time to settle into the daily routine of camp before making my first post of the season. My roommate for spring training is Joseph Krebs, a lefty reliever from the University of Texas, who I met in Billings last season.

The pitchers/catchers portion of spring training began on March 1, with the position players steadily trickling in over the next five days before their mandatory report day on March 6. On the first day of camp, our new minor league field coordinator, Freddy Benavides warned the pitchers that the first five days could turn into Groundhog Day. The staff had eight different stations set up and we rotated between them on a ten-minute intervals. The stations included fundamental drills ranging from covering first base on a groundball to pickoffs to bunt play coverage. As expected, the most popular portion of each day, excluding lunch, was definitely the bunting and slash bunting station.

In addition to fundamental work, the pitchers also began throwing light bullpens, which turned into throwing ten minutes of live batting practice once position players arrived, and starting tomorrow, will turn into two innings of game work. The Pittsburgh Pirates minor league camp will be coming in tomorrow and I am scheduled to throw with the Sarasota Reds’ roster.

Now, a quick rundown of my highlights of spring training thus far:

David Weathers, Mike Stanton, and Francisco Cordero showed up early one morning to talk to the minor league pitchers for about a half an hour or longer about the path that lead each of them to the majors and having an approach to the game that will allow a player to capitalize on every opportunity that comes his way.

Dusty Baker came out and talked to the entire minor league camp a few days ago for about 40 minutes. Dusty jumped around from one issue to the next, but touched on a ton of great topics and really fired everyone up for that day of work.

I showed up early to the clubhouse one morning last week, and whom do you think I found roaming around? If you guessed Johnny Bench, you would be correct. I went up and introduced myself, but it seemed he was a little more focused on finding fellow catcher, and last year’s first-round draft pick, Devin Mesoraco. I cannot blame Bench either; Mesoraco reported in great shape and has been looking good thus far.

Just like last season, I will try and make posts on a weekly basis this year. I hope everyone is excited about this upcoming season for the organization, it should be a good one.

8 Responses

  1. DevilsAdvocate

    Each of those three items in the highlights thus far…are awesome. What a great way to start the year. Have fun in camp, keep your arm loose, and enjoy the sun…

  2. jinaz

    Great to see you back, Matt, and thanks as always for the updates. These kinds of things are among the highlights from spring training (and the regular season) for us fans!

    And good luck this year! We’re all pulling for you. -j

  3. Chad

    Great post, Matt. Keep the updates coming. Nice glimpse inside camp…

  4. Mike Martz

    Welcome back Matt, good luck this season!

  5. Ryan

    Thanks for this post and those upcoming Matt. Enjoy the weather and the work! We’re pulling for you!