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02/22/09 5:53 PM EST
Sliding practice on agenda for Reds
Baker concerned by lack of practice time inherent in Grapefruit League
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The start of Grapefruit League games is right around the corner -- Wednesday, in fact. Even with the earlier reporting dates, there are still some things in Reds camp on manager Dusty Baker's to-do list.
Namely, sliding. That's on the agenda before the Reds hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday.
"You probably get more injuries sliding than any other thing," Baker said on Sunday. "We're going to try and get sliding in [Monday]. We have cutoff relays, popups. You never get everything in because there are not enough days before the games. You try to get to some of the most important stuff done early and then add on as you play the games."
Trying to knock out drills before games begin is of greater importance while training in Florida -- mostly because of geography. In the Grapefruit League, the bus trips are longer and often Interstate 75 is slower.
"One drawback with Florida vs. Arizona is teams out there are so close that you can do a lot of your fundamentals and take your batting practice before you go [to road games]," Baker said. "You just go play the game. Here, with the length of some of the trips, you're lucky to have batting practice at their park. That's about it. You do your work only at home games. Arizona, you work every day, home or road."
Next year, the Reds will have that advantage. In 2010, they will begin holding Spring Training at their new complex in Goodyear, Ariz.
In the meantime, Cincinnati finally reached a full camp total of 63 on Sunday. Catcher Humberto Cota straightened out his visa issues in Mexico and arrived in camp. It will, however, be a short stay in Sarasota for Cota, who is expected to depart next week to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.