Jay Bruce made a surprise entrance at the Reds’ spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona.
It was not only unexpected that Bruce would show up in camp, two days before the position players are required to report, Bruce wasn’t expected to be a Red by the time the season started.
Two bad years are in part responsible for the Reds’ top pick in the 2005 draft to remain on the Reds’ roster.
“I’ve said all along that if I would have played better the last year and a half, two years, I would have already been traded. I’m honest with myself,” Bruce said. “I know good and well that I’m not the player last year and 2014. The only way I can prove that is to go out and actually do it and get back to the real me.”
His .217 batting average in 2014 and .226 batting average last year with strikeout totals of 149 and 145, caused his trade value to plummet. He also had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in May of 2014. He returned after two weeks, perhaps too soon, that can explain his 2014 off year.
It might be uncomfortable for some in the organization because it was common knowledge that Bruce was on the trading block but not for him.
“Until I walk out on the field opening day, as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, who knows what will happen but I’m a Red until I’m not,“ Bruce said. “This is all I know. It’s an interesting time for the franchise. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in the rebuilding process. I look forward to getting started and being a part of this thing. It would be awkward if this was another franchise that I was walking into.”
The reality that baseball is a business requires that management and players take trade rumors and speculation in stride.
“It is the terrain that we’re in now. There are no great secrets,” manager Bryan Price said. “It’s probably good for players, especially long tenured players to know what you’re considering doing and why you are considering doing it. It is uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable to have players at the trade deadlines whose names are out there.”
Players were tuned to the Daytona 500. Some had interest in the race but many were watching for car number 47 driven by A. J. Allmendinger. The car has a tribute to the late clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe on the side of the car.