Notes: Not as hectic for Hatteberg

Notes: Not as hectic for Hatteberg

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The pace of Reds Spring Training hasn't been quite as frenetic this year for first baseman Scott Hatteberg.

Hatteberg first came to the Reds when he signed late as a free agent on Feb. 12, 2006. In other words, he found a job the week camp opened last year.

There was no last-minute scrambling this year. Hatteberg was already re-signed to a one-year, $1.5 million extension on July 26 that came with a 2008 club option. It gave him plenty of time to make any spring arrangements he needed and to get ready for the season.

"It's different," Hatteberg said. "You know the coaching staff. You know the players. You don't have that 'Hey, how are you doing?' uncomfortable thing or 'What are the [clubhouse workers'] names?' sort of thing. You really have to concentrate and learn. That part is gone. You can concentrate on baseball and what you want to do."

After 10 years in the American League, including the previous four in Oakland, Hatteberg had no difficulty adjusting last season. The 37-year-old batted .289 with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs in 141 games and also led the team with a .389 on-base percentage. A 9-for-57 (.158) skid over the final 20 games wrecked his chance of hitting .300 for the season.

"As far as what my role was, I had no idea last year," Hatteberg said. "I got more steady work than I thought I was going to get last year."

Hatteberg, a lefty hitter, will likely play a bulk of the time at first base again, but could share some of the time there with right-handed hitting Jeff Conine. Having a more settled situation doesn't leave Hatteberg taking a more relaxed approach this spring.

"For me, it comes down to personal integrity," Hatteberg said. "Some guys don't have that drive. There's that competition for me at all times. I think competition is very good. It makes you play your best and try your best. I think when things are given to you, and I don't feel like anything is given to me now, you can lay back and take Spring Training as just practice. You can't approach it that way.

"You can't turn it on or off. If you do that, you may not have a full head of steam on April 1. I'm going to play these games like anything else."

Turning two: Infield drills were in full swing on the practice fields Tuesday morning. New middle-infield partners, second baseman Brandon Phillips and shortstop Alex Gonzalez, looked smooth as they paired up for turning double plays.

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Gonzalez, who was signed to a three-year, $14 million contract to improve Cincinnati's defense, felt things were going well with Phillips in camp.

"We're getting comfortable as we work out more," Gonzalez said. "I talk with him. It's the first time I've played with him and the first time he's played with me. We talk about where he wants the ball in different situations. Right now, so far, we're doing pretty good."

Morning commute: Before manager Jerry Narron puts his players through a workout each morning, he puts himself through a much earlier workout. Normally up by around 4:45 a.m., Narron gets to the camp complex from his Lido Key condo either by foot or on a bicycle. It's a distance of about six miles.

"I just ran it in. Then I decided to bike it in and run some after that if I feel like it," Narron said.

All Narron needs to do is take up swimming and maybe he could do a triathlon?

"I have no chance of swimming across the Intercoastal, none," Narron said. "It's pretty awesome though coming across that bridge early in the morning like that."

On top of his running and biking, Narron also throws batting practice on most days.

Excused: Reliever David Weathers has been excused from camp to be with his ailing mother. There was no word on when Weathers was expected to return.

Outfielder Norris Hopper, who left camp on Friday for the funeral of his grandmother in New Jersey, was expected to return some time on Tuesday.

Transactions: The Reds signed outfielder Chris Denorfia and pitchers Bill Bray and Brian Shackelford to one-year contracts on Tuesday.

Coming up: The Reds will split up and hold a 12 p.m. ET intrasquad game on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium. Every position player, except Ken Griffey Jr., (out with a left hand injury) is expected to participate.

"We'll try to get everybody on our roster an at-bat, if we can," Narron said.

This game could draw more attention than usual. Top pitching prospect Homer Bailey is slated to start against Bronson Arroyo.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.