SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Reds have a rare split-squad home doubleheader on Wednesday. They host the Padres at 4:05 p.m. ET and the Dodgers at 10:05 p.m. at Goodyear Ballpark.Manager Dusty Baker said that all hands will be available and all of the regulars will play, noting that he already has second baseman Brandon Phillips slated for the first game and first baseman Joey Votto in the lineup for the second. Votto hasn't played in the last two Cactus League games, but Baker said that wasn't an issue. "He's fine. He's working on some things," he said on Tuesday before his club dropped a 7-5 decision to the Royals at Surprise Stadium. "There will come a time when Joey is going to get a lot of playing. Like every day. We're programming him to get ready for the season. With Joey's stroke, he's like Barry Bonds. You want to be careful for them not to peak too early because then they get bored. It's hard to sustain that high level of concentration. That's why you want him to peak right when the season starts." The big show on Wednesday will be hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman starting against the Padres. The Cuban pitcher is vying for a slot in an already-crowded Reds starting rotation. Baker said he hasn't made a decision whether to do that or keep Chapman in last year's setup role, along with newcomer Sean Marshall, another left-hander. "We can't have six or seven [starters] in there," Baker said on Monday. "We're grooming [Chapman] to be a starter, but we can always shorten him back up to a reliever. He can't go the other way. We'll place more importance on the team need than his. The team is always more important. That's why it's called team."
Leake feels good despite bumpy outing
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For the second consecutive day, a Reds starter struggled. Blame it on the dry Arizona air, the hard ground or simply nearing the end of the second week of Cactus League games."I feel good. I felt strong, especially in that last inning," said right-hander Mike Leake, who was pounded around in his three innings of work during a 7-5 loss to the Royals on Tuesday at Surprise Stadium. "I was just dropping the elbow. Getting 2-0 counts. Otherwise, I feel good where I'm at." Leake allowed four runs on eight hits, walking two and whiffing two. Ten of the 18 batters he faced reached base safely. On Monday against the Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium, Bronson Arroyo allowed eight of the 12 batters he faced to reach base safely. Is there a trend here?
"He wasn't sharp, but it's Spring Training. We know what Leake can do," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's working on some things and he doesn't like it. We're not crazy about it, either, but you're here to get some work. The same thing with Arroyo yesterday. You've got to get your work. You've got to get your endurance. You stick with them longer than you want to sometimes, but if you don't they'll never get it together."Arroyo threw 45 pitches on Monday and Leake tossed 55 Tuesday in his third spring start as he's beginning to stretch it out. Leake figured he'd throw 10 to 15 more the next time around.
Larkin to be honored Friday in Goodyear
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Former Reds shortstop and recent Hall of Famer Barry Larkin will toss out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday night's Reds game against the Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark.Larkin, a veteran of 19 big league seasons -- all with the Reds -- and a native of Cincinnati, was elected to the Hall earlier this year by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He was the only one elected. Larkin will join Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who will be inducted posthumously, during the annual ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 22. Santo was elected by the Golden Era Committee late this past year. Larkin was a 12-time All-Star and the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1995. He's the 10th player going into the Hall who played a majority of his career in Cincinnati. There now are a total of 42 players, managers and executives in the Hall who spent at least a portion of their careers with the Reds.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.