Monday, February 15, 1999

CATCHER: Who's No. 1?




        It's most likely Eddie Taubensee, though Brian Johnson is almost certain to be 1A.

        Because Taubensee bats left-handed and Johnson right-handed, a platoon is possible. Taubensee would play more than Johnson under that arrangement, though each is a streaky hitter who might stay in the lineup as long as he's hitting.

        Taubensee started a career-high 109 games last year and responded admirably on offense. But he threw out only 18 of 94 basestealers (19.1 percent). Taubensee also underwent surgery on his right wrist Jan.13, which could delay his progress in spring training but isn't expected to hamper him longterm.

        Johnson was slightly better throwing out runners (16-for-57, 28 percent). In each of his five major-league seasons, his team's ERA was lower with him behind the plate than any other catcher.

        He also matches, if not exceeds, Taubensee's power, but wasn't as consistent.

        Given the apparent strength of the Reds' reserves at other positions, they're unlikely to keep three catchers on the Opening Day roster.

        That could doom Brook Fordyce, who enjoyed his first full season in the major leagues last year.

        Fordyce is out of minor league options, and he has nothing to prove at Triple-A, so he could be bound elsewhere.

        The Reds will be eager to look at Jason LaRue, their top catching prospect, who hit .365 with 82 RBI in 105 games last year for Double-A Chattanooga. He's not ready to unseat any veterans — yet.

       



Reds Stories
REDS SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW
- CATCHER: Who's No. 1?
INFIELD: How fast can kids grow?
OUTFIELD: Softball, anyone?
RELIEF PITCHING: Who throws the ninth inning?
STARTING PITCHING: Does depth exist?

SAINT LOUIS 69, UC 57
UC NOTEBOOK
XAVIER 62, TEMPLE 60
XU NOTEBOOK
Did win over Owls wow recruit?
Posey runs ring around Owls
SPORTS ON TV-RADIO
Duke's Langdon reverses end-of-season breakdown
Gordon steals victory - and fan
Worn-out tires cost Wallace
DAYTONA 500 NOTEBOOK Ford teammates touch off crash
HOUSTON 5, CYCLONES 0
Memories and dreams of Maple Leaf Gardens
High school basketball report
Ambrose won't rule out return

Reds page