Reds looking to keep Spring Training fresh

Reds looking to keep Spring Training fresh

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The routine stretching, warm-up exercises, drills and the unmistakable pops of catcher's gloves receiving pitches in the bullpen. It must be the start of Spring Training workouts.

Reds pitchers and catchers held their first formal workout on Tuesday, and while camp will have all the familiar nuances, manager Bryan Price also wants to mix things up.

"My goal for myself and my staff is to keep Spring Training fresh every year," Price said.

Last spring, Price and his coaches added more situational baseball discussion into pregame workouts.

"We combined situational offense from a hitting perspective with situational baserunning, dirtball reads, hit-and-runs, reading balls off the bat, things of that nature," Price said. "We were able to combine some different components of the game into one drill, which was fantastic. Also, we'll do some Q-and-A stuff. [We've] taken the pitching staff and divided it into two teams. You pick questions out of a hat, and then you get points based on the answer of a particular player.

"It kind of puts them on the spot, but it's nothing that we haven't already covered -- the No. 1 bunt play, the proper way to go to first base on a groundball to the right side, things of that nature. It sounds relatively simple. What's your route on a ball to left-center with runners at second and third and less than two outs? … It's a great way to talk more baseball."

More camp notes from Tuesday

• All teams' Spring Training schedules have been altered by the World Baseball Classic this year. The Reds will have three players representing their countries -- infielder Dilson Herrera (Colombia), reliever Jumbo Diaz (Dominican Republic) and non-roster catcher Shawn Zarraga (the Netherlands). Starting pitcher Scott Feldman was slated to be part of Team Israel's designated pitcher pool if it advanced out of the first round. But Feldman is no longer going to participate.

"I'd rather be here," said Feldman, who signed as a free agent on Jan. 26. "It's a new team and I'm trying to worry about this team. I have too much at stake."

Feldman excited to be on Reds

Price cautioned that players vying for spots could miss opportunities, especially someone like Herrera that is in his first Reds camp.

"This is really valuable time to get to know the personnel before we make some really tough decisions at the end of spring," Price said. "Any time lost with those players in my opinion is a negative, unfortunately.

"I'm sure [Herrera] would like to come in and do well and do well in front of our team. If he's doing well for his [Classic] team, that's great, but it's going to be hard for us to really evaluate him from television.

• Competing for the rotation, Cody Reed was among Reds pitchers throwing in bullpen sessions on Tuesday. Reed wasn't wearing his trademark glasses, however.

"I never wear them in the bullpen," Reed said. "I just wear them in games to see the catcher's fingers. I tell them what I'm throwing in the bullpen. I'll be wearing them [in games]."

• The following Reds are out of Minor League options: Utility player Arismendy Alcantara and pitchers Homer Bailey, Tony Cingrani, Diaz, Feldman and Blake Wood.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.