Bullpen hopeful Hayes draws Baker's praise

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Asked to name some of the young players he's liked so far during camp, Reds manager Dusty Baker's response wasn't one of the team's more known prospects. It was right-handed reliever Drew Hayes, the organization's 11th-round pick in 2010.

Hayes, 25, has worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings over four Cactus League appearances and also had a scoreless inning during an exhibition with Canada's World Baseball Classic squad on Wednesday.

"He's a guy I brought in the first two or three games with the bases loaded," Baker said on Friday. "I apologized to him and said, 'Hey, sorry I can't start you out with a clean inning.' He seemed unfazed by it. He said, 'It's OK, no problem.' He throws strikes. He has a good attitude. He and [Chad] Rogers, they stand out by throwing strikes."

Last season at Double-A Pensacola, Hayes was 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 56 games. In 63 1/3 innings, he allowed 53 hits and 38 walks with 64 strikeouts.

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.