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Powerful Lutz impresses early in spring

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- As Reds manager Dusty Baker has been conservative with playing his regulars in the early going of Spring Training, more opportunities have come for younger players. One of those prospects making the most of his time has been left fielder Donald Lutz.

A 24-year-old who hails from Germany, Lutz is 2-for-5 through four games. During Tuesday's game against the Padres, the lefty slugger lined a hard single into right field in the second inning off right-hander Anthony Bass.

"I like big Lutz. He's very talented," Baker said. "He's very raw, but he's getting refined in a hurry. He hasn't played as much ball as the other guys. He's coming fast. I like what I see. I like his speed for a big man. He works hard in the outfield during batting practice. We're teaching him how to throw correctly."

Lutz hit .256 with 22 home runs and 66 RBIs in 103 games between Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola last season. He also played games this offseason in the Arizona Fall League and in Australia.

Originally a first baseman, Lutz has been working mainly in left field since Joey Votto is firmly entrenched at first base.

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