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From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dusty on Keppinger, the rotation

It certainly looks like Jeff Keppinger will be the starting shortstop if Alex Gonzalez begins the near on the disabled list, which is a near lock. I asked Dusty Baker about the fact that Keppinger is starting nearly every game at short:

"I heard he played short most of the year, With (Gonzalez) out, I’ve got to see what he can do. I know he can hit. But that up-the-middle defense is critical. You like to see offense. But certain position on the field, you need defense and leadership. That’s one of them.”

“I want to see him defensively. You know Brandon (Phillips) is going to be at second base. You want your potential shortstops to work with your second baseman. That double play is the most important defensive play out there. You want to get that right.

“Yesterday the double play was a little slow. I thought it was a sure double play. That’s what spring training is for. You work on feeds and how quickly you get the ball.

“Let’s face it, Kep’s a good player. But it’s hard to beat Gonzalez at shortstop. That’s no slight on Kep. It’s a compliment to Gonzo.”

Baker was also asked about competition for the rotation.

“There’s plenty of competition. It’s a matter of how open-minded we allow ourselves to remain.”

Baker said he wasn't just talking about being opewn-minded about the young guys.

"Quite frankly, I get tired of hearing young or old. I’d rather hear is good or bad, good or great.”

Beyond Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, the rotation is not set.

“I haven’t set anything. You’ve got to give Matt Belisle some strong consideration. You consider 170 innings and 8-9. You got room improvement.”

“If you pitch good enough, there’s going to be somewhere on the team for you. You pitch good enough, long enough, you’ll be somewhere close to being on the team.

“Most of the time, they make us up our minds. Outside of some young guys who haven’t gotten in games, most guys have gotten a good opportunity. I ain’t no one-time-pitch-bad-and-you’re-off-list guy. I ain’t no one-time-you-pitch-good-and-you’re-the-team guy. I like to give guys two or three chances.”


10 Comments:

at 1:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

***“Yesterday the double play was a little slow. I thought it was a sure double play. That’s what spring training is for. You work on feeds and how quickly you get the ball.***

That ought to give Jack in Blue Ash some heartburn.

 
at 2:14 PM Blogger Y-City Jim said...

I sure hope Dusty is sincere when he says he doesn't care about young or old but performance. That applies to position players as well, Dusty.

Buckeyes upset Michigan State today and shoot 50% from the field. Will wonders never cease!!!

 
at 2:27 PM Anonymous NVreds said...

dusty may provide a soap opera this yr, but that will just make it more interesting to follow the team

 
at 2:28 PM Anonymous NVreds said...

affeldt will probably start in pen solely because he's our best LH relief pitcher

cueto!!

 
at 6:52 PM OpenID sportshandicapper said...

"Beyond Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, the rotation is not set."

Music to my ears. I think today's the first day all winter Krivsky/Baker/Fay haven't included Belisle in there also.

I hope Bailey, Volquez, and Cueto all make the rotation. If one of them doesn't, I'd expect Affeldt to be the other starter. Fogg and Belisle make for ok insurance, but the idea of counting on Belisle to be a quality #3 starter this year was as crazy sounding as the notion of pumping up Coffey as the solution for the bullpen. Sure, give Belisle and Coffey a shot this spring to try to prove they are new-and-improved versions of themselves this year, but they've got a lot of convincing to do just to make the team. Those two were awful last year! They're down at the problem end of the spectrum and not close to the solution end at this point.

 
at 9:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John -

What was the Reds' record with Gonzalez at SS last year?

You have repeatedly published that the Reds were 21-22 with Kepp, but never the Reds' record with Gonzalez at SS.

Thanks

 
at 9:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John -

What was the Reds' record with Gonzalez at SS last year?

You have repeatedly published that the Reds were 21-22 with Kepp, but never the Reds' record with Gonzalez at SS.

Thanks

 
at 9:49 AM Blogger John Fay said...

43-55

 
at 12:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris from Indiana
I believ Belisle will get an opportunity to start. I keep hearing comparisons to Harang in his early years and have seen some numbers to back it up. I hear he has the stuff just not the mental game yet - Tom Browning said this last week on WLW. If Belisle has the stuff I expect they will give him some starts early to prove it. If he does well, he will have earned it. If not they will have to look at other options.

 
at 12:41 PM Anonymous Cmac said...

I saw a few game last year where Belisle was flawless (and nasty) and a few more where he was beat pretty hard. It's definitely mental for him. Once he gets hit a couple of times, its all over. Hopefully, Ol' DB realizes that and can handle him.

If he can take some sessions with the team shrink, he'll be a solid #3, else he'll never be more than average.

 
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