GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Based on just over six weeks in the Major Leagues with the Reds last season, Drew Stubbs put himself on the inside track for the regular center fielder's job this spring. It's now his job to lose. That was some six weeks. "I don't know many young men that come to the big leagues and do better than they did in the Minor Leagues," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Stubbs, 25, was the Reds' first-round Draft choice in 2006 and earned his first call up to the Reds on Aug. 19 when Willy Taveras was injured. In only 42 games, Stubbs batted .267 with a .323 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot but also had eight home runs and 17 RBIs. After his promotion, Stubbs led the team in homers, stolen bases (10) was second in total bases and runs scored. In 107 games at Triple-A Louisville before the call up, he had three homers, 39 RBIs, 46 steals and a .268 average. "It was huge. I proved to myself that I could play at that level," Stubbs said. "I think it showed me and the organization that I am capable. Coming into the spring for me, I used last season as a springboard into the offseason to get myself ready mentally and physically to play." Stubbs, who spent his offseason in Austin working out at the University of Texas, with Cardinals All-Star slugger Matt Holliday and Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden, already had a leg up on the center field spot. The Reds' trade of the disappointing Taveras on Feb. 1 further solidified the move. But six weeks does not a big league career make and Stubbs knows it. With other talented outfielders in camp, namely a natural center fielder in left fielder Chris Dickerson, it's not a situation written down in pen, yet.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.