GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Todd Frazier and Brennan Boesch each hit home runs as the Reds beat a Cubs split-squad team 9-5 at Goodyear Ballpark on Saturday. The two combined to drive in seven runs, four for Frazier and three for Boesch. Outfielder Brennan Boesch hit his fourth home run of the spring in the seventh to go along with a two-run double in the first.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Reds manager Bryan Price was in the middle of a long lesson on why you can’t put too much into spring stats when he was asked about Brennan Boesch.
Boesch, in camp as non-roster outfielder, has put up off-the-charts stats this spring. He’s hitting .500 with three home runs and six RBI in 26-bats. But Boesch, 29, has made an impression beyond the numbers.
“What I see with Brennan Boesch is his early major league success in Detroit, followed by a year of kind of figuring himself out,” Price said. “He led the PCL in hitting. He hit over .330 with a bunch of homers and RBIs and he got a chance to play center field. It was liberating for him to just go out there and hit. Speaking with him, he found what he needed to do offensively.”
Boesch hit .332 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI in 95 games for Triple-A Salt Lake City. What’s impressed Price this spring is Boesch, a left-handed hitter, has done damage against left-handed pitching.
“He’s had the type of spring where you say: Man, maybe this guy has revitalized his career,” Price said. “We temper everything, but it’s not just the fact that he’s hitting .500 in 26 at-bats. He’s played an unbelievable center field, he’s throwing well, he’s run the bases well.”
But, again, Price and the Reds don’t base too much on spring stats.
“When we get these stats, I always say that the only thing they are good for is how many at-bats guys are getting and how many innings,” Price said. “All the stuff — as much as we say it’s greatly relevant — it’s not. If Joey Votto hits .230 or Jay Bruce hits .150, it doesn’t matter because we know what they’re capable of doing.”
For non-roster players, having a good spring is important, however.
“You have to balance what they’ve done historically with what they’re doing in spring training. Have they closed up the hole in their swing? Are they good on the mound to have given up one run in 15 innings? You have to evaluate what you see and not what you read.”
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Brennan Boesch has been one of the more impressive hitters in camp. But to win a bench position, versatility is a key.
To that end, the Reds have been playing Boesch in center field, despite only one of Boesch’s 430 games in the majors having been in center.
“He’s looked great,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He got a chance to play there more last year in Triple-A and he just made it a point to let me know, and the coaching staff, that he’s played center, and that he feels like he plays the position well. He’s done a real nice job out there.
“Since Billy (Hamilton) has been out, it’s given Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch and Kris Negron the majority of playing time – also with Yorman (Rodriguez) getting sent back down to the minor leagues.”
Price wasn’t sure how many outfielders the Reds will carry. Skip Schumaker and Negron give the Reds flexibility because they can also play infield.
“Schumaker is primarily an outfielder/second baseman,” Price said. “Kris primarily came up as an infielder that can play all three outfield spots. Along with the starters, you have two guys there that are capable of playing the outfield very well and then you have to look between Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch, that group. There’s a good chance at least one of those guys would be on the club as well at this point.”
Boesch is also taking balls at first base. He nearly played there last year with the New York Yankees.
“They were giving him a lot of work in New York when (Mark) Teixeira went down,” Price said. “And just when they were ready to say he’s ready to play first base, Teixeira came off the DL.
“He’s taking regular ground balls and I’d like to get him into ballgames here this spring just to make sure he’s comfortable in the game environment.”
Goodyear, AZ – So many times when somebody walks past a couple of baseball players at there clubhouse locker they are talking about the lobster tail they ate the night before, the new Porsche 918 Spyder they ordered or the seven-iron they stuck stiff on the pin.
That isn’t the case for Brennan Boesch, who has stuck his foot in the door toward grabbing a spot on the Cincinnati Reds bench by hitting two home runs in his first three spring exhibition games.
Manager Bryan Price says every time he walks past Boesch he is talking about a batting stance, a nasty slider or a pickoff move.
“Whenever I walk past him he seems to be talking about baseball,” said Price. “He is talking about the pitcher or talking about hitting situations. He sesm to be very invested in the game.”
When Boesch talks to the media he speaks softly. When he goes to the batter’s box he carries a big stick. Well, at least the Reds hope he carries a big stick with ‘Louisville Slugger’ stenciled on it.
There are certain guys already stenciled for bench duty for the 2015 Reds — Brayan Pena, Skip Schumaker and Kristopher Negron. But none have power-laden strokes, not like Boesch, who has already shown it this spring. And he showed it last by hitting 25 home runs for Triple-A Salt Lake City.
“In an optimum situation on your bench you have players who are table-setters and you have guys who, when needed, can provide the threat of a three-run homer,” said Price. “We are happy with the players we think have secure spots on the bench, but there are some open places where we could use some thump.”
And to add to his versatility, the Reds asked him to find a first baseman’s mitt.
Boesch is an outfielder by trade, but there is no room for him in the Reds outfield. There is, though, room in the dugout, on the bench, and if he can master first base his value increases, especially because he swings his powerful bat from the left side
That’s Price told him to grab a first baseman’s mitt and take some grounders, even though Boesch has not played any first base since a few cameo stops there at Cal-Berkeley.
That’s the same school attended by Price but it doesn’t give the 29-year-old Boesch any extra consideration. He has to earn his way and he knows it.
Feb 26, 2015; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Paul Maholm (46) poses for a picture during photo day at the Reds Player Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Maholm aiming for Reds rotation spot
Paul Maholm has pitched in the bullpen but prefers starting. Will he earn a spot with the Reds this spring?
Boesch mostly plays the corner spots in the outfield, but actually prefers center field and he told Price he played a lot of center field last year in Salt Lake City. So Price put him in center field Saturday against the Kansas City Royals and he hit his second home run.
Due to injuries, Boesch has played only 50 major league games the last two years, 27 last year for the Los Angeles Angels and 23 the year before with the New York Yankees.
Where he caught Cincinnati’s notice was last year in Salt Lake City. Boesch led the Pacific Coast League with a .332 average and he drove in 85 runs to go with those 25 homers. He also was the PCL’s top slugger (.636) and top OPS guys (1.017).
Boesch, a 6-4, 225-pound native of Santa Monica, Calif., became a minor-league free agent after last season and he was a quick sign by the Reds — November 19. Despite being a west coaster, Boesch is thrilled to be wearing a Cincinnati uniform.
“This is a great group of guys to be around,” said Boesch. “It is just getting underway and the fun has start. I’ve had conversations with the Reds in the past and it is a place I’ve always had interest in playing.
“I like the environment of the stadium and of the Central Division, even though it was in the American League,” he said. He was in Detroit from 2010 through 2012), a third-round draft pick by the Tigers in 2006. He played 133, 115 and 132 games in those three years in Motown.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani pitches in a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs.
Cingrani taking nothing for granted, fighting for rotation spot
All spring long manager Bryan Price has listed Cigrani as the odds-on favorite to capture one of the available spots in the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation.
“It is a place I’ve wanted to play in for a while,” he said, meaning Cincinnati.
His bounceback season in Salt Lake City last year was after debilitating injuries that limited him to 23 games with the Yankees in 2013,
“It was good to be back playing consistently after an injury or two in prior years,” he said of his Salt Lake City experience and referring to a shoulder injury and a thumb injury.
“To get back on the field healthy and get run out on the field on a consistent basis led to some big numbers and restored the joy I had for the game,” he said. “Being healthy is a huge part of our game and I’ve learned to take a few more measures to prevent injuries. When you are hit like I was it makes you have injury prevention as a lifestyle.”
Hopefully he won’t encounter bad hops on the hard Arizona fields as he acclimates himself to first base and convinces Price to let him roam center field when Billy Hamilton needs a day of rest.
“I don’t have a lot of experience there, just a few times as an emergency first baseman,” he said. “I’ve worked out there a lot but not a lot of game action. I played some in college, but not consistently. I’m excited about the challenge and I know I can get the job done.”
Price didn’t inject Boesch into the first base spot on Day Two of the exhibition season, even though Joey Votto was not in the lineup. Boesch was in the lineup as the Designated Hitter.
“I’d like Boesch to be able to play first base because it increases his value,” said Price. “I think if you’re left handed you have played some first base along the way. He’ll be working with (coaches) Jay Bell and Freddie Benavides to re-initiate him to the position.”
SURPRISE, Ariz. — The bats: The Reds collected 11 hits, with DH Chad Wallach collecting a pair of singles and an RBI. Outfielder Brennan Boesch hit his second home run in as many days, a no-doubter into right field off of the Royals’ Louis Coleman. Friday, Boesch homered against the Cubs. “He stayed back on a changeup and I think it was the second changeup of the at-bat. He put a nice swing on it and didn’t try to do too much with it, but he obviously hit the crap out of it,” Price said. “There’s nothing like having guys in camp perform, especially when there’s openings on the club. He hasn’t opened some eyes, because we knew he was a good player coming in, but it doesn’t hurt to have a nice camp.”
While most Cincinnati Reds fans are focused on seeing how some of the team’s most notable players are looking during spring training, there have been a couple of players who have quietly turned some heads early on in camp.
The regulars have not been playing in every game early on, so there have been plenty of players getting playing time during games. Some have taken advantage of their opportunity, and others will need to make better use of their time on the field the rest of the spring.
Cincinnati does have a few roster spots up for grabs this spring. That should give some of the under-the-radar players plenty of motivation to be on top of their games. Although there is still plenty of time left in spring training, a good start gives some players an advantage over the competition.
Keep reading to see which players have already made a good impression at this year’s camp.
OF Brennan Boesch
Going into camp, Brennan Boesch knew that he would need to have a strong spring in order to have a legitimate shot of making the Reds’ 25-man roster. Well, he’s doing everything he can to prove that he deserves a spot on the team’s bench.
Boesch was brought in this offseason on a minor league deal. Given that he is not currently on the 40-man roster, he is going to have to clearly outplay the competition in order to “force” the Reds to make room for him on the roster.
So far, the 29-year-old outfielder is showing that he can help the club with his bat.
Boesch has four hits, including two home runs, in his first eight at-bats this spring. He leads the team with five RBI.
It’s certainly a small sample size. However, he did hit .332 with 25 home runs, 25 doubles and seven triples in 95 games at Triple-A last season, so there is plenty of pop left in his bat.
Without Chris Heisey, Cincinnati needs someone who can come off the bench and tie the game with one swing of the bat. That’s a role that Boesch looks capable of filling.
Again, there’s still a long way to go before the Reds have to decide on a roster. There is just less than a month until Opening Day, so Boesch will have to continue to swing the bat well if he wants to be in Cincinnati come April 6. If he continues to produce runs, the team is going to have a hard time not clearing a spot on the 40-man roster for him.
MESA, Ariz. – Brennan Boesch hit a three-run homer to highlight a five-run seventh inning and lead the Reds to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs Friday in front of 15,331 at Sloan Park, the biggest crowd ever for a Spring Training game in either the Cactus League or Grapefruit League.
(Photo: The Enquirer/Kareem Elgazzar, The Cincinnati Enquirer)
By: Associated Press (Wire Services)
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Brennan Boesch didn’t mess around once free-agent season began. He signed with the Reds before Thanksgiving.
When you’re coming in on a minor-league deal — like Boesch did — you’re looking for a major opportunity. The Reds offered Boesch one. With the trade of Chris Heisey, the Reds have a severe shortage of power off the bench.
Boesch has 47 career home runs. That’s 17 more than Skip Schumaker and Jason Bourgeois have combined.
“(Boesch) certainly can help us. There’s no doubt about it,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We have a situation here where we need depth, bench depth, someone who could step in if we need help in the outfield or first base.”
Boesch, a left-handed hitter who has played all three outfield spots, targeted the Reds from the start.
“I had conversations with the Reds in the past,” he said. “It was the sort of place I had some interest in as a visiting player coming over — just the environment at the stadium. I had some experience in the Central Division in the American League. I don’t know if there’s a connection. It’s a place I’ve wanted to play for a while now.”
Boesch was pretty much an every-day player for the Detroit Tigers in 2010, ’11 and ’12. Boesch hit .259/.315/.414 with 42 home runs and 175 RBIs in that three-year run with Detroit.
Boesch left the Tigers as a free agent. He signed with the New York Yankees. He hit .275 with three home runs and eight RBIs in just 51 at-bats before being released on July 22.
He was signed by the Los Angeles Angels to a minor-league deal before last season. He spent most of the year at Triple-A Salt Lake City, where he put up some monster numbers. He hit .332 with 25 home runs and 85 RBIs in 95 games. He led the Pacific Coast League in hitting, slugging (.636) and on-base plus slugging (1.017).
The key was being healthy. Boesch was dealing with a shoulder injury in 2013. He also had thumb surgery in 2011.
“It was good to be back playing consistently after an injury or two the years prior,” Boesch said. “I felt healthy and got run out there on a regular basis. Those two things led to some big numbers. It kind of restored the joy I have in the game.
“Being healthy is a huge part of the game. I’ve been working on preventing injuries now. If you do prevention as a lifestyle, it helps.”
Boesch is only 29. Boesch, like Price, played college ball at the University of California.
“I love to see his best years sitting in front of him, rather than think they’re past him,” Price said. “We’ve gotten to know each other a little bit. I think he’s really happy to be here and have this opportunity. I think coming off that season he had in Triple-A, he was really enjoyed playing baseball and he was healthy.”
“I like to see him out there doing what he does. He kind of got banged up and lost his way a little bit. He feels and we feel maybe his best days are ahead of him.”
Boesch went 2-for-2 with an RBI in his Reds’ spring debut.
“It’s going well. The body feels good and it’s a great group of guys to be around,” Boesch said. “It’s just getting under way. The fun’s about to start.”
One of the keys for Boesch is playing first base. The Reds would like to have a backup for Joey Votto. Last year when Votto missed 99 games, Todd Frazier shifted from third to first or Brayan Pena shifted from catcher to first.
“I’d like (Boesch) to be able to do it,” Price said. “It certainly increases his value. It’s the same as when we had Ramon Santiago playing a little bit of left field last year in spring training. If push came to shove, it would be nice if he could go out there and handle the position if necessary.
“He’s played some first base in the past — not professionally. I think if you’re left-handed, you play first base. We’ve talked to him about it. He’ll be working with Freddie Benavides and Jay (Bell) to get re-initiated to the position.”
Boesch is ready to try first.
“I’ve been an emergency first baseman,” he said. “I’ve worked out there quite a bit, but I haven’t gotten a lot of game action. I played it college some — not consistently. It’s been a while. I feel excited for the challenge. I know I can get the job done.”
After Reds Manager Brian Price told reporters that Brennan Boesch was a “terrific player” who would be seeing time at first base as well as in all three outfield positions, some pointed out that Brennan’s major league career to date had him mostly manning a corner outfield spot. With a strong arm and a power bat, Brennan started in right field for most of his first three big league seasons.
It’s been known by scouts that Brennan is no stranger to centerfield. While winning the PCL batting title last year, Brennan saw time in center, the position he patrolled at Cal Berkeley, as an All-Pac-10, All-American and finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy as College Player of the Year. But many scouts know that Brennan is no stranger to first base either. Before an injury cut short his time with the Yankees, Boesch worked out at first with Gold Glover Mark Texiera, and actually it was at first base where Boesch first attracted the attention of professional scouts, who anointed him Best First Baseman and Best Hitter at the prestigious Area Code Games showcase.
Brennan’s athleticism has served him well, flashing all five tools during his career, stealing bases, hitting for power (25 homers last year and leading AAA in slugging percentage), batting for average (winning the PCL batting title last year), and showing off the strong and accurate arm of a Gold Glove winner in the minors, where he led the AA Eastern League in outfield assists.
Brennan’s fans are excited to see him in a Reds uniform this year – wherever his talents take him.