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THE REDS HAVE MANY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER DURING SPRING TRAINING 2010

3.3.10
BY: MEH
WHO WILL BE IN LEFT? WHO WILL BE NO. 5?
THE REDS HAVE MANY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER DURING SPRING TRAINING 2010
Jonny Gomes
With Spring Training advancing to actual games this Friday against Cleveland, the discussion of who will make the opening day roster will start to become more and more intriguing until the St. Louis Cardinals come to town on April 5th. All of the infield positions are already locked up and so are the bullpen's. Right field is Jay Bruce's and center appears to be Drew Stubbs' to lose. That leaves left field as the only vacant position. Jonny Gomes is likely to get the majority of starts in left (thanks to his major league contract), but will there be a platoon including the likes of Laynce Nix, Chris Dickerson, Wladimir Balentien, and Chris Heisey or can Gomes emerge to finally become an everyday player in the bigs? Gomes could potentially put up some huge numbers if he could produce like he did last year (281 AB, .267 AVG, 51 RBI, 20 HR) for an entire season. Obviously only time will tell.

MARC HULET ON CHRIS HEISEY
The Reds club recently re-signed Gomes to a big-league deal so he's the favorite for playing time in left field. However, there is a rather unimpressive backlog of outfielders, including Chris Dickerson, Wladimir Balentien and Laynce Nix, vying for playing time at the position. Heisey could end up being the best of the bunch, although his long-term outlook is probably fourth outfielder due to his average power for the outfield corner.

The only other vacant position would be the fifth-spot in the rotation. With Edinson Volquez out until at least the All-Star break, Homer Bailey avoids any competition for the role. He will be in the rotation on Opening Day along with Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and Johnny Cueto. All four have enjoyed major league success and it should continue with veterans Harang and Arroyo playing for contracts, while Bailey and Cueto solidify their skills.

All of the candidates for the fifth-spot bring something to the table, but these five definitely stand out.

LHP Aroldis Chapman (Top prospect from Cuba, 100mph+ fastball)
LHP Travis Wood (13-5 1.77 ERA between AA and AAA last year)
RHP Mike Leake (3 straight seasons in PAC-10 with 10+ wins)
LHP Matt Maloney (28/8 so/bb ratio last year with the Reds)
RHP Justin Lehr (13-3 3.31 ERA in AAA during 2009)

It could be hard though to judge their abilities at the Reds' new facility in Good year, Arizona.


FROM C.TRENT:
I talked to Justin Lehr a bit about pitching in Arizona, heís been in several camps out here in his career.

He said youíll see monster ERAs from guys during the spring and then theyíll have nothing else. Last year Zack Greinke had a 9.64 ERA in the spring. Lehr noted established guys will just work on their stuff and throwing to spots. If youíre not fighting for a spot in the rotation, youíre working on things. With the elevation and lack of humidity, the results arenít as forgiving. And then thereís the infield ó Zack Cozart said if itís not just a couple of feet from your right or left, youíve got no shot.

He played in the Arizona Fall League and pointed toward Logan Ondrusek who pitched well in the season and got batted around in the AFL, not because he wasnít good, but just because thatís what happens out here.


It could be the making for a very interesting battle between pitchers. Only one will make the rotation with the others retreating to Louisville to create a damn solid rotation in it's own right for manager Rick Sweet. They will all share a common goal though, and it's not to wear purple this season.

MORE NEWS
-What's your take on the fifth spot?
JOHN FAY
-Pitching, pitching, pitching
REDLEG NATION
-5 things that need to happen
RED REPORTER
-Morning Reds 3.2.10
C.TRENT
-2010 Reds Season Preview DIAMOND HOGGERS

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