The challenge for Bryan Price is to keep his team's concentration.
Price is doing more situational drills, question and answer competitions and rules meetings to break up the routine. "We have a coach pull a question out of a hat and players get points for how they answer," Price said. "It puts them on the spot but it's something we've already gone over, like what's our number one bunt play, things of that nature."
The Reds bring in Rich Marrazi, who is a rules "guru".
"He will break down certain rules and why they are interpreted a certain way," Price said. "He will have some dialogue with our players and coaches, the go to the minor league side and do the same thing. It is more then entertaining; it is informative."
With spring training longer, Price will pitch the younger pitchers more early then bring in the pitchers who are most likely to make the team. "We don't want to overload them," Price said. "We are starting to appreciate the importance of rest.with all the medical science that's out there. Some oldtimers would say we're making them softer. That's not the goal. We're paying more attention to the body needs time to recover."
The World Baseball Classic will effect the plan.
"The WBC is a great opporunity," Price said. "It's a better opportunity for guys that already have a spot on the team. We know that has a spot on the team, like Scott Feldman. It's not such a good thing for the younger player. Like Dilson Herrera."
The Reds saw Herrera when he played for the Mets and briefly with the Louisville Bats after coming to the Reds in the Jay Bruce trade. Herrera had a problem with his shoulder late in the season at Louisville.
"If Dilson does well for his WBC team that's great but it is going to be hard to evaluate him from TV," Price said. "It is harder to get a feel for how he would fit on this team. We are losing valuable time with him/"
Scott Feldman will have a spot on the team and more than likely will take Dan Strailey's spot in the rotation. Feldman pitched in relief for Houston and Toronto for the last season. Feldman was a starter for Texas since 2008 for Texas, the Cubs, Baltimore and Houston.
"We know that Scott is healthy and his experience can help and improve our young pitchers," Price said. "He is doing exactly what he wants to do."
Feldman has decided not to pitch in the WBC for Israel.
"I was asked but I think it is more important for me to be here with a new team," Feldman said."I just need to go out there and be myself. Staring is something I'd like to do. You have to go somewhere where they want you. The Reds called early and it seemed like a good place to play. I'm excited about it. It is unfortunate when guys like Homer (Bailey) get hurt. In the meantime someone has to step up a little bit."
'A lot of this game is being in the right place at the right time," Feldman said. "When I was younger, Texas didn't have a good pitching staff. It was a lot easier for me to be called to the big leagues."