CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Yonder Alonso is home in Miami and already commencing with his offseason workouts. This week he will likely have, at the least, a wandering eye on the World Series. Is Alonso pulling for either the Rangers or Cardinals? Not exactly. "I have no rooting interest," Alonso said on Tuesday just before heading out to do some weight lifting. "When you're not there, it's a bummer. But I know a couple of guys on each team. I want them all to do well."
Perhaps none more than Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay. The Reds and Cardinals have had a deep, and occasionally bitter, National League Central rivalry in recent years. But it's friendship that extends beyond the clubhouses and all the way back to childhood in South Florida. "We've known each other since I was 11 or 12 years old," Alonso said. "We played at the same baseball academy." Alonso and Jay remain roommates in the offseason and are workout partners. They also starred for rival Miami high schools -- Alonso for Coral Gables and Jay for Christopher Columbus. Both played for the Univ. of Miami baseball team. Jay was a junior when Alonso was a freshman. "He was always an older brother type of guy," Alonso said. "He always does all the little things right. He never lied to me, always told me the truth and is a good guy to look up to. I'm always there for him." The 24-year-old Alonso was the Reds' first-round Draft pick in 2008 and one of his organization's top prospects. This year, he made the transition from first base to left field and is planning to dedicate all his winter to shedding pounds and adjusting fully to his new position. He will rely partially on Jay to help improve his skills.
Jay, 26, was the Cardinals' second-round pick in 2006. He played his second full season in 2011 and batted .297 in 159 games.Alonso, who also knows Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso and Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, spoke with Jay on the phone as recently as Monday. Game 1 of the World Series begins on Wednesday in St. Louis. "I wished him well and good luck," Alonso said. "I'm waiting for him to get here so we can do our outfield workouts."