GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Miguel Cairo is 36 years old with 15 seasons of Major League service time logged with nine different clubs. Yet, for the first time in his career, Cairo is playing under a multiyear contract. The Reds inked the utility infielder to a two-year, $2 million deal in December. "I've been working real hard my whole career," Cairo said on Tuesday. "I was really happy to see that happen."
Last spring, Cairo was in camp on a Minor League deal and one of only two non-roster players to make the club. He batted .290 in 91 games with four home runs and 28 RBIs. Cairo's value came in his versatility. He made 38 starts at four different positions, including 26 at third base for Scott Rolen and nine at first base for Joe Votto. More importantly, he was effective in those starts, which often came when one of the corner infielders was injured. Fans started grumbling about Cairo after he batted .111 for April. But he hit .372 in May and was steady defensively. The Reds always valued his veteran presence around a mostly young clubhouse. "I was just doing my job. My job was if someone gets hurt, be ready," Cairo said. "In the beginning, it was a little slow. I know I can hit. I know I can play. I always believe in myself. I have to believe in myself to do my job." Cairo spent his offseason at home in Safety Harbor, Fla., which is near Tampa. He worked out at the same place as reliever Nick Masset. Reds manager Dusty Baker recently mentioned he will be enouraging veterans to program their camps so that they start the regular season ready. "Right now, my body feels really good. Hopefully every day I will feel way better," Cairo said. "I'm in good shape. It's something I work really hard at during the offseason -- to come to Spring Training ready to rumble."