GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Paul Janish and his wife made a 17-hour drive from Houston to Arizona without an overnight stop on Wednesday. A couple of weeks ago, it could have been deduced that Janish was excited about going into Spring Training as the Reds' starting shortstop.
Once veteran free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera was signed on Feb. 1, however, Janish's role changed dramatically. Still, he was an early arrival on Thursday and eager to get to work.
While pitchers and catchers started their first day of camp, Janish was on another field taking ground balls -- still at shortstop. "It's just change of mentality," Janish said before going outside. "I have to get into the mindset of being a utility guy again, a guy that comes off the bench later in the game or if something happens. That's really it. The writing was on the wall. Orlando is obviously a pretty decorated player that has been in the big leagues a long time. He's a good player. Anything that makes the team better means we're going in the right direction." A superb fielder, Janish had a Major League-leading .995 fielding percentage after he took over in August for Alex Gonzalez. But Janish had a couple of things working against him already in his winter bid to be the regular shortstop. The 27-year-old batted only .211 in 90 games last season. The Reds were also a team that had trouble offensively. They didn't have enough hitters to bat around Janish, who did show improvement with his bat down the stretch. He also hit 21 doubles in 256 at-bats overall. The need for offense won out. "It was a little disheartening," Janish said. "If you had asked me in November if we would probably sign somebody, I would have said yes. Obviously the timing of this was so close to Spring Training. I went through the offseason thinking of something else. It is what it is. It's the way it works. I'm a pretty positive guy. I have the mentality that as long as I'm on the team helping us win, that's a good thing. What else can you do? "Orlando is going to play, which is fine. That's how it is. I will try to use the time I have to keep getting better and going in the right direction. So that when the opportunity comes again to play, I am ready for it."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.