GOODYEAR, Ariz. The sun beat down warmly on their necks as they went through their early-morning driflls, dew still on the short grass. And the cactus outside the complex let them know: It is time to get their bodies and minds ready for the long, long season.
The Cincinnati Reds, mostly pitchers and catchers this week, began spring training Monday with some things old and a lot of things new.
After winning the National League Central in 2010, the team rested on its laurels in the off-season and didn't do much to alter the face of the team. The laurels collapsed and once again the Reds were under .500.
General Manager Walt Jocketty didn't make the same mistake twice. He was busier than a tax consultant on April 14 during the off-season.
He made trades. He acquired starting pitcher Matt Latos. He acquired relief pitcher Sean Marshall.
He signed free agents. He signed closer Ryan Madson. He signed outfielder Ryan Ludwick.
Was that enough to push the team back to its 2010 level ...