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.
Miley had no shot at making the club. He was there as an extra catcher to help with all the pitchers early in camp.
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)
"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."
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.
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 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.
"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. 4||at Pittsburgh||1:05 ||Bradenton |
|Fri. 5||at Minnesota||1:05 ||Fort Myers |
|Fri. 5||TORONTO||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Sat. 6||at Philadelphia||1:05 ||Clearwater |
|Sun. 7||MINNESOTA||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Mon. 8||at Pittsburgh||1:05 ||Bradenton |
|Mon. 8||at Tampa Bay||1:05 ||St. Petersburg |
|Tue. 9||at Boston||7:05 ||Fort Myers |
|Wed. 10||TAMPA BAY||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Thurs. 11||at Toronto||1:05 ||Dunedin |
|Fri. 12||TORONTO||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Sat. 13||ATLANTA||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Sat. 13||at Pittsburgh||1:05 ||Bradenton |
|Sun. 14||PHILADELPHIA||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Tue. 16||BOSTON||7:05 ||Sarasota |
|Wed. 17||at NY Yankees||7:15 ||Tampa |
|Wed. 17||PITTSBURGH||7:05 ||Sarasota |
|Thurs. 18||at Toronto||1:05 ||Dunedin |
|Fri. 19||TAMPA BAY||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Sat. 20||at Atlanta||1:05 ||Kissimmee |
|Sat. 20||at Tampa Bay||1:05 ||St. Petersburg |
|Sun. 21||PITTSBURGH||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Mon. 22||at Cleveland||1:05 ||Winter Haven |
|Tue. 23||NY YANKEES||7:05 ||Sarasota |
|Wed. 24||at Detroit||6:05 ||Lakeland |
|Thurs. 25||PITTSBURGH||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Fri. 26||PHILADELPHIA||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Sat. 27||CLEVELAND||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Sun. 28||at Minnesota||1:05 ||Fort Myers |
|Mon. 29||PITTSBURGH||1:05 ||Sarasota |
|Tue. 30||MINNESOTA||1:05 ||Sarasota |
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.
REDS SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW
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THIS WEEK'S POLL QUESTION
How do you feel about Joe Nuxhall's replacement?
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