We won’t have a game thread for every spring training game, but we will for this one. The game just started. You can hear it on the radio (WLW) live or watch it tape delayed at 5 p.m. (Eastern) on the MLB network. Not sure what’s available online. Billy Hamilton has just worked a walk, stole second and taken third on a wild throw. First reference to “havoc” by the radio broadcast.

Here’s manager Bryan Price’s (!) line-up. Alfredo Simon is the starting pitcher.

  1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
  2. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Jay Bruce (RF)
  5. Ryan Ludwick (LF)
  6. Todd Frazier (3B)
  7. Zack Cozart (SS)
  8. Devin Mesoraco (C)
  9. Brayan Pena (DH)

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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    Hamilton walks on 4 pitches and has a 1.000 OBP
    Hamilton steals 2B and goes to 3B on throwing error

    Phillips walks on 4 pitches

  2. Phillips walks then gets thrown out attempting to steal when Votto strikes out. Questionable strategy during the regular season since BP is too slow to steal any more and also now Bruce needs a hit instead of a sacrifice fly or ground ball to score the run. Bruce grounds out.

  3. What a worthless bum!!! Votto takes 3 called strikes!!!

    Phillips out on caught stealing then Bruce flies out. Good thing it’s the first spring training game or something would be broke right now.

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      No no … if you’re following the MLB gamecast, pay no attention to balls and strikes. Every walk will show as 4 pitches, every strikeout 3 (in spring training, they don’t have pitch by pitch data).

      Hamilton had a 10 pitch AB and walked, Phillips hurt himself sliding into second base on the stolen base attempt, and the Votto AB was not three called strikes.

  4. Bryan said he was giving everyone the green light on the bases to see who can do what. I guess he was serious.

  5. Simon, three pitches, three outs! How’s that for efficiency.

  6. Our old friend, Aaron Harang on the mound for the Tribe.

  7. You know the winter is bad (and how excited you are for baseball!) when you tune in to hear the first pitch of spring training. Even Marty seems in good spirits!

    • @aktrainer: Wish I could hear him. They blacked it out here in Cincy if you try to listen online. I also can’t get AM radio at work because there is too much interference.

      • @LWBlogger: One of those times I’m lucky not to live in Cincy anymore, I guess. The MLB radio app is the best $20 I spend every year! I think it’s pretty silly of them to black out WLW for spring training games too. Pointless.

  8. Interesting OF for the Tribe too, with Frenchy in RF and Morgan in CF.

  9. I call Frazier for the first Spring Training HR.

  10. What do y’all think of Cozart in the 7-hole? Thought he’d bat 8th.

    • @ebienen: I was with you a little on that, also. I just couldn’t help thinking Devin would benefit by batting 7th rather than 8th. When he comes up, it would be more likely the other team throws him garbage to get to the pitcher. Batting him 7th, they have to pitch to him, at least more than in the 8-hole.

      But, it’s not like Devin and Cozart are bad hitters, either. Hey, I like them most anywhere. I’m hoping Devin has the opportunity to get his power stroke going, allowing him to move up in the order. If he gets his bat going, I wouldn’t mind him between Votto and Bruce. But, until we get another bat going, it should be Votto then Bruce.

  11. Can’t wait to get off work at 5 so I can turn the game on. Stupid work rules……

  12. Marty says the play Cozart made in the hole was great. Also Brantley said BP turned a nice double play.

  13. Good news folks… Joey Votto has an RBI. World will stay on its axis!

  14. Votto has 100% of the Reds’ RBIs this year. Man, he’s really contributing this year.

  15. All good omens so far: Billy Hamilton walks and steals first to lead off spring training, and the first two RBI’s are from Votto and Ludwick!

  16. Hamilton with two perfect AB’s to start the spring campaign. Awesome battle first AB and then a nice piece of sacrificing to get Pena in scoring position. If Hamilton doesn’t move the runner over, Phillips hits into inning ending DP, and no Votto RBI.

    One ST game in, Hamilton is King!

    • @FrustratedRedsFan: Yeah, depriving Phillips the opportunity to hit into the DP is a great thing. I’ve never seen a more natural DP stroke than what Brandon has.

      • @FrustratedRedsFan: Yeah, depriving Phillips the opportunity to hit into the DP is a great thing. I’ve never seen a more natural DP stroke than what Brandon has.

        Sean Casey must be his hitting instructor.

    • @FrustratedRedsFan: If Hamilton & Phillips do hit 1-2 in the lineup, Phillips may not hit into any double plays this season.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Good point. Anything to make me feel better about Hamilton leading off is welcome.

      • @Shchi Cossack: That’s what I am hoping for. I just can’t tell. BP is such an aggressive hitter, I’m not sure how much of an opportunity Hamilton will have to steal a base. To cure that, Hamilton could hit behind BP, because Votto would definitely give Hamilton more of an opportunity to steal bases. But, I would rather have Hamilton on base first at the beginning of the game with no outs, etc.

        If I had to choose, I would bat Hamilton behind Votto. But, hey, I can take him anywhere up there.

  17. Two good innings from Simon in the first game out. Good start for the pitching staff.

  18. K, 1B(RBI), DP, K … 2 LOB too! That Votto guy needs to start earning his keep.

  19. What I don’t like about “OMG, Billy Hamilton must bunt MOAR!” is that those at bats usually last one pitch. Compare his third AB of this game, when he made a one-pitch bunt out, with his first AB when he drew a 10-pitch walk.

  20. Awww, there went the combined no-hitter and the shutout. :mrgreen:

  21. Wow, how do you walk Frenchy? The guy never walks… “Pack your bags kid.”

  22. Here’s our ol’ buddy, Curtis “Granny” Partch.

    AKA Ondrusek Lite.

  23. If you haven’t already, pay the 19.99 for the MLB app to get all the radio broadcasts. Well worth the money.

  24. Heisey goes yard!

  25. Game ball goes to Crabbe (whoever that is) for being the best pitcher on the entire Reds staff right now, as is evident from his 1-0 record. His 18.00 ERA is irrelevant. He has a 1.000 W%.

  26. The Angels broke the bank signing Trout to a cool million!

  27. What a glorious day for the Old Cossack. 😀

    I caught the beginning of the game, albeit just through gameday, but missed most of the game for medicals. The verdict on the medicals was no tears and no surgery on the meniscus in my knee or rotator cuff in my shoulder, just a lot of PT and rehab. The Old Cossack celebrated with a 4 mile walk with the Little Cossacks.


    Hamilton 0-2 with 1-BB, 1-SB
    Phillips 0-2 with 1-BB
    Votto 1-3 with 1-R, 1-RBI
    Bruce 0-1 with 1-BB
    Schumaker 1-2 with 1-BB, 2-R
    Ludwick 1-2 with 1-RBI
    Heisey 2-3 with 1-HR, 1-2B, 1-R, 2-RBI
    Cozart 1-2
    Santiago 0-1 with 2-BB, 1-R, 1-SB
    Pena 1-2 with 1-R
    Simon 2.0-IP, 0-H, 1-BB, 0-Runs, 6-Batters Faced

    THE BAD:

    Frazier 0-2 with 1-SO
    Mesoraco 0-2


    Soto 1-2
    Bernadina 1-2 with 1-BB, 1-R
    Lutz 1-2 with 1-3B, 1-R, 2-RBI
    Rogers 2.0-IP, 0-H, 1-BB, 1-SO, 7-Batters Faced

    That was a lot of good stuff with not so much bad stuff from the 1st game. Hamilton and Phillips came away with a 0.333 OBP. If those two players can maintain an OBP of 0.330 for the season, Reds fans will be proclaiming, “Choo Who?” There were 4 2-out RBI’s today (Votto-1, Ludwick-1, Heisey-2). It’s just the 1st spring training game, but that game sure felt good.

    Did I mention…no surgery for the Old Cossack?

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      Glad to see Lutz get a nice hit. Where does he fit in with the Reds OF plans? Can he play his way into the LF discussion or will he be at AAA? With Ervin, Winker, and YorRod just right behind him in development is he in their plans? A nice spring showing could make him a more attractive trade piece. Lutz and a pitching prospect might get Franklin from the M’s.

      • @WVRedlegs: I’m a huge fan of the Big Lutz. His weakness at the plate was in full view and fully expointed after his call up last season. Reports from the off season indicated he worked hard on correcting his problem hitting the hooks. His inexperience has really worked against him, but a very strong spring showing might put him back in the discussion and headed for the Bats outfield. He’s playing in his age 25 season this year so time is getting short after his struggles at AA the past two seasons.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Not sure you can put Phillips under the good when he went 0-2, 1 BB, and 1 CS. Getting one base 1 and getting thrown out on base 1 kind of negate each other, no?

      • @ToddAlmighty: In a meaningful game I would agree, but Bryan has stated he wants the team to be more aggressive on the bases (stealing and taking the extra base) during spring training so the team develops a more aggressive approach to the game. I don’t think Phillips attempts very many (if any) steals in a meaningful game. His days as a basestealer have passed him by. The Reds simply need him getting on base for Votto, Bruce and Ludwick and gatting a BB in his 1st AB was a good sign to me. He could have hacked away and tried to grab that RBI standing at 3B with none out. Instead he set up for the big inning (which didn’t pan out) by taking the BB.

      • @ToddAlmighty: If Phillips changes from his over-aggressive plate approach to one better suited for the #2 hole where he successfully becomes more selective and works the count, he will convert the Old Cossack back to a big Phillips fan again.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I’m happy for you, Cossack.

    • @Shchi Cossack: What happened to the Old Cossack? Did you fall on the ice or something? It’s been trechorous out there this winter. Having had more than my fair share of injuries, I can sympathize with you. I can also cheer for the fact that you don’t need surgery and there are no tears in the knee or the shoulder. May your recovery be speedy!

      • @LWBlogger: @greenmtred: Thanks for the kind thoughts and well wishes. The injuries were nothing as romantic as a serious injury or calamity. I’m afraid they are simply the result of the Old Cossack being WAY too old and the Little Cossacks being WAY too many and WAY too little. It’s good to know that the Old Cossack will soon be playing ball again with the Little Cossacks though.

  28. Just curious … When did it become “known” — to everybody except me — that the Reds are thinking of Simon as a starter? A recap on AP said this:

    Reds: Alfredo Simon pitched two scoreless innings. He pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for Cincinnati the last two years, but is being considered as a starter.

    “I worked on my two-seamer and it was pretty good,” Simon said. “It felt good to be a starter. It has been a long time.”

    Simon started 16 games for Baltimore in 2011.

    • @vegastypo: The last that I read was that the Reds were going to stretch Simon out as their backup plan in case any starters got hurt during spring training, and that if that’s not the case, then he’ll go back to being a reliever.

      I’m fine with that plan, but I wouldn’t be so fine with it if I were Wang or one of the other non-roster invite starters.

  29. I’ve been saying this for years, give Heisey the full time gig. Still think he’d have better overall stats in a full season than Ludwick.

    Was nice seeing some of last year’s Pensacola Wahoo players in there late in the game. Looking forward to seeing an improved Wahoo team this year (helped by Reds cold stove) when they come to Jax to play the Suns.

    Also looking forward to hearing the Reds announcers today as we had to endure the Indians crew yesterday on MLB network.

  30. So glad to see the Reds back on the field – even in black uniforms!

    It was nice to just watch the game and not be invested at all in its outcome. That must have been how Dusty felt most of last year. Okay, that was just mean, but I couldn’t resist!

    In a pretty full bullpen, if Simon has some success as a starter in the spring, could he become a fairly valuable trade piece as we get closer to Opening Day? Of course, that would be dependent on Latos having a smooth recover, which I’m not willing to bet on yet.

    • @Kyle Farmer: I’m hoping Ondrusek has an absolutely shut-down spring training and becomes a possible trade option. Simon might be too valuable on the current roster as a swing man from the bullpen. I like LeCure and Hoover as a shut down relievers. Since Chapman only pitched 60 innings last season, the days of stretching him out to start have passed. Simon pitched 90 innings last season and could be stretched out to 130 this season as a 5th starter if necessary. Finding a reliable replacement bullpen arm (Partch, Diaz, Hyde, Christiani, Bell, Hayes, Beato or even possibly Corcino) could be easier than finding a reliable replacement starter (Francis, Wang, Crabbe, Corcino, Holmberg, Rogers) from AAA.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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