Sunday, February 15, 2004

Here's the drill: It's back to basics

Camp Miley debuts in Sarasota

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Reds manager Dave Miley tells a story about one of his years in big-league camp. It was 1983, Russ Nixon's only full season as the Reds' manager.

Brandon Larson practices bunting during last year's spring training. The Reds will be seeing more of the same this year as they work on fundamentals.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
Miley had no shot at making the club. He was there as an extra catcher to help with all the pitchers early in camp.

"The first thing we did when he got in was put on this white jogging suit and run two miles," Miley said. "It was killing me. I was hoping to get sent back to Triple-A camp."

Miley survived. Years later, Miley got Nixon back. Nixon managed Billings for the Reds in 1998. The Pioneer League season didn't start there until June, so Nixon helped out on Miley's Triple-A Indianapolis staff in spring camp.

"First day he came in, I said: 'See those two big buckets of balls? You're carrying them out every day. That's for all that running you made me do.' He did it every day."

Projected Opening Day lineup:
2B D'Angelo Jimenez
SS Barry Larkin
CF Ken Griffey Jr.
RF Austin Kearns
1B Sean Casey
LF Adam Dunn
3B Brandon Larson
C Jason LaRue
Miley and Nixon are good buddies now. They are cut from the same, old-school baseball cloth, but their approaches to spring training differ a bit.

Miley won't be training guys to run a fast 5K.

"I'm not going to run a boot camp," Miley said. "We're going to work hard to get them ready to play baseball for the season."

Boot camp, no. Bunt camp, yes.

Asked if he'll have any bunt stations at camp, Miley said: "About eight of them."

Miley, who opens his first camp as Reds manager when pitchers and catchers report Tuesday, will stress the basics. The first workout is Thursday. Position players report Feb. 23, and the first full-squad workout is Feb. 25.

The Reds have invited 57 players to camp.

Anyone who saw the Reds play last year saw a team that struggled with fundamentals: bunting, moving the runner over, base-running and defense.

O'Brien looking to turn it around
Here's the drill: It's back to basics
Locked in, if not loaded
You'll know it's a good spring if ...
You'll know it's a bad spring if ...
Five Reds on the spot
Five young Reds to watch

"Those are things we'll stress," Miley said. "Defense is important. We have a lot of sink-

erball pitchers. It's important that we catch the ball."

The Reds were last in the major leagues in fielding percentage last year, and the cast this year is basically the same. Miley thinks having two good infield instructors in camp - coach Randy Whisler and minor-league field coordinator Ron Oester - will help.

Miley wants to run a camp that moves crisply.

"We're going to have stations and keep people moving," he said. "Players don't like to be standing around."

There was always a schedule for former manager Bob Boone's camps, but it wasn't always adhered to. Players sometimes would head to one diamond only to find out they were supposed to be somewhere else.

Miley and his staff met with general manager Dan O'Brien in Sarasota, Fla., in January to come up with a plan for the camp.

"It will be very structured," O'Brien said. "We have very specific day-by-day plans for individual and early work. There's going to be a sense that everything is in order."

2004 Reds spring schedule

Thurs. 4at Pittsburgh1:05 Bradenton
Fri. 5at Minnesota1:05 Fort Myers
Fri. 5TORONTO1:05 Sarasota
Sat. 6at Philadelphia1:05 Clearwater
Sun. 7MINNESOTA1:05 Sarasota
Mon. 8at Pittsburgh1:05 Bradenton
Mon. 8at Tampa Bay1:05 St. Petersburg
Tue. 9at Boston7:05 Fort Myers
Wed. 10TAMPA BAY1:05 Sarasota
Thurs. 11at Toronto1:05 Dunedin
Fri. 12TORONTO1:05 Sarasota
Sat. 13ATLANTA1:05 Sarasota
Sat. 13at Pittsburgh1:05 Bradenton
Sun. 14PHILADELPHIA1:05 Sarasota
Tue. 16BOSTON7:05 Sarasota
Wed. 17at NY Yankees7:15 Tampa
Wed. 17PITTSBURGH7:05 Sarasota
Thurs. 18at Toronto1:05 Dunedin
Fri. 19TAMPA BAY1:05 Sarasota
Sat. 20at Atlanta1:05 Kissimmee
Sat. 20at Tampa Bay1:05 St. Petersburg
Sun. 21PITTSBURGH1:05 Sarasota
Mon. 22at Cleveland1:05 Winter Haven
Tue. 23NY YANKEES7:05 Sarasota
Wed. 24at Detroit6:05 Lakeland
Thurs. 25PITTSBURGH1:05 Sarasota
Fri. 26PHILADELPHIA1:05 Sarasota
Sat. 27CLEVELAND1:05 Sarasota
Sun. 28at Minnesota1:05 Fort Myers
Mon. 29PITTSBURGH1:05 Sarasota
Tue. 30MINNESOTA1:05 Sarasota

Money matters

The Reds have $42.25 million committed to 13 players:

• Ken Griffey Jr., $12.5 million
• Sean Casey, $6.8 million
• Danny Graves, $6 million
• Paul Wilson, $3.5 million
• Cory Lidle, $2.75 million
• Jason LaRue, $2.6 million
• Jimmy Haynes, $2.5 million
• D'Angelo Jimenez, $1.6 million
• Juan Castro, $1 million
• Chris Reitsma, $950,000
• Barry Larkin, $700,000
• John Vander Wal, $700,000
• John Riedling, $650,000

That puts the overall payroll at $46 million to $47 million, because the majority of the other players will make near the major-league minimum of $300,000.



O'Brien looking to turn it around
Here's the drill: It's back to basics
Locked in, if not loaded
You'll know it's a good spring if ...
You'll know it's a bad spring if ...
Five Reds on the spot
Five young Reds to watch

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