Slimmer Diaz getting attention in Reds camp

Slimmer Diaz getting attention in Reds camp

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reliever Jose "Jumbo" Diaz has already made a name for himself in Reds camp and could be poised for a breakout season.

The right-hander showed up to camp in better shape and is making a case to break camp with the big league team with his performances on the mound. Diaz has allowed two hits and one run in his first four innings of Cactus League play.

"I heard a lot of about him and saw the game reports and heard he had a lot of velocity but sometimes when a pitcher makes a commitment to a significant weight-loss program, they'll lose some fastball and he hasn't," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "His velocity has been consistent in the 94-98 mph [range], a lot of 96 and 98s. He's got a real good split and a usable breaking pitch, a slider."

Diaz, 30, went from 347 pounds at the end of last season as a closer for Triple-A Louisville to 278 pounds when he showed up in Arizona for camp. He's pitched 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues but has never reached the Major Leagues.

"Maybe baseball was waiting to see him make a commitment to being in baseball shape," Price said. "Baseball players don't have to look like they are sprinters or running backs but you have to be in baseball shape, and it's hard to carry that kind of weight and as an organization feel that you have a player that is committed to being a professional."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.