Saturday, February 17, 2001

Reds Notebook

Reds hope Reyes' weight not an issue

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SARASOTA, Fla. — Left-hander Dennys Reyes, whose arrival in camp has been delayed by visa problems, was expected to arrive in town Friday evening after having missed two days of workouts.

        That's no big deal if Reyes can merge smoothly with the progress of the other pitchers. But Reyes' history of conditioning problems arouses some concern. His weight has always been an issue, and he struggled with back spasms in training camp of 1999.

        “Hopefully when he gets here, he can get into the program, not be set back physically, and do the things necessary for him to catch up,” pitching coach Don Gullett said. “I understand he threw a little bit of winter ball in the Mexican League; hopefully that will help him.”

        Reyes' development is crucial to manager Bob Boone's plans. Boone wants Reyes to begin spring as if he were preparing to be a starter, the better to sharpen his variety of pitches so he has greater command of them even if he returns to the bullpen.

        COULD GO EITHER WAY: A look at Chris Reitsma's career record clearly shows he's a starter. But his excellence in the Arizona Fall League this offseason, when he posted a 1.44 ERA in 13 bullpen outings, has led some Reds officials to think he's best suited as as reliever.

        For now, Reitsma's a pitcher. The Reds will decide later what kind.

        “It depends on how our club sets up and what needs we may have,” Gullett said.

        But Gullett also indicated that Reitsma, who has started in all but one of his 68 professional appearances, fits a starter's profile.

        “From what I've seen thus far, he has a good fastball, good curveball and good feel for a change-up,” Gullett said. “When you have three quality pitches, that's something that meets the criteria for a starting pitcher.”

        Reitsma, acquired from Boston with left-hander John Curtice in the Dante Bichette trade Aug.31, just wants to establish himself in his new organization. He never has pitched above Double-A.

        “I don't know what they're going to do with me,” said the right-hander, who was a combined 10-6 with a 3.03 ERA at Single- and Double-A last year. “At this time, you just have to take it day by day and see what happens. Wherever they send me is fine, but obviously my goal is to get (to the majors) sometime this year.”

        ETC.: Right-hander Osvaldo Fernandez's salary arbitration case has been postponed from Monday to later in the week. Fernandez's agent, Joe Cubas, has a scheduling conflict that forced the delay. Fernandez has requested a one-year salary of $1.2 million while the Reds are offering $600,000.

        • A baseball source said the commissioner's office has begun asking the 29 other teams whether they would approve outfielder Deion Sanders' non-guaranteed minor-league contract with the Reds. As suming no team blocks the transaction, Sanders, who again worked out informally here Friday, could rejoin the Reds officially early next week.

        • An intrasquad scrimmage has been scheduled for Feb.26.


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