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Live batting begins with games quickly approaching


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds batters faced Reds pitchers Sunday in camp's first round of live batting practice. Both groups are trying to sharpen up ahead of the first Cactus League games, which begin earlier than usual, on Feb. 22.

"I just hope nobody gets hurt -- with hamstrings," manager Dusty Baker said. "I imagine the kids will play a lot. This is where the balance comes in -- how much to play your regulars or when are they going to get stale or stagnant? You have to play them enough to get in shape but they can't peak too early in Spring Training. But I have to play them enough to get them ready or else you're inviting injury to the older players."

It hasn't been determined if the Reds will hold an intrasquad game before starting exhibition games.

"We're not sure yet. We'll talk about it soon," Baker said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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