Talking to Dusty
Dusty Baker held a mini-press conference before the buses rolled on the caravan. The highlights:
On Jeremy Affeldt: "We’re hoping Jeremy can adjust to starting. I talked to him. He’s trying to add a third pitch a changeup, which is going to be a bit of an experiment in spring training. If it doesn't work – I told I’d give him every opportunity – you know he’s qualified as a reliever. Everybody needs that. But everybody’s looking for a left-handed starter. We’re going to train him and prepare him as a start. If it doesn’t work, he can always relieve. It's harder to prepare him as a reliever and then ask him to start."
On the center field situation: "You're asking questions that I'll have to see when I get there. I've never see Norris Hopper play. I've seen Ryan Freel play. At this point, there could be some other guys in the mix. That's a very, very, very important position on our ballclub. Right now, it's Freel and Hopper and we'll see if the other guys are ready. We may get a surprise guy to open some guys."
And Jay Bruce: "I'm going to let the young man be himself. Let him play. Don't put any pressure on him. He's headlines already. I hear the reports on him are very, very good. I've never seen him play. I'm excited and anxious to see him play."
I asked Freel if his knee would be ready by spring training: