Last post from Westwood for a while
I'm heading to Sarasota on the 9 a.m. flight tomorrow. Should arrive at the Ed complex around noon. I'm looking forward to it as always, but there's also a sense of "man, I'm not going to have much of a life for the next 7 1/2 months."
Looks like spring will start with no Joe Blanton or Kenny Lofton. Here's a list if things I'll be looking forward to (other than a good grouper sandwich):
--Seeing Edinson Volquez throw. He's got the reputation of having big arm. You can't tach a guy to throw 97, but you can refine his pitching skills.
--Seeing how Ryan Freel runs. The guy has fallen out of favor with a lot fans because last year was a lost year. But in the previous three years his on-base percentage was .375, .371, .363 and he averaged 36 steals. Those are good leadoff numbers.
--Watching Johnny Cueto pitch. I've written a ton about the guy, but I've never seen him pitch. Based on Louisville manager Rick Sweet's scouting report, I wouldn't be surprised if Cueto makes the bigs at some point this year.
--Catching Jay Bruce in the hitting cage. I remember the first time I saw Josh Hamilton last year. I knew he was special after about eight swings. Bruce needs a good -- maybe great spring -- make the club. He's certainly capable.
--Chatting with Dusty Baker daily. Baker, in Cincinnati scribe parlance, is a sheer delight. And he's an interesting guy with a lot of interests.
You could probably come up with the your own list. Have at it.
The one thing I'm not looking forward to is looking out the window from my work station in the Hal McCoy Press Room and seeing that first parking place empty. Joe Nuxhall's big blue van was always parked there, slightly askew. Nuxie was too anxious to get into the clubhouse to straighten it. I'll miss the man, and so will everyone else remotely connected to Reds baseball.