David Bell says Cincinnati Reds camp intensity is ‘above and beyond’ expectations – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Posted: July 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm


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With two weeks to ramp up for the 2020 season, the Cincinnati Reds have upped their intensity in intrasquad scrimmages and live batting practice sessions.

The Reds will play two exhibition games against the Detroit Tigers on July 21 and 22, before opening the season against the Tigers on July 24 at Great American Ball Park. In a typical spring training, live BP sessions and controlled scrimmages are just a part of the process.

Now, everything in camp has a little more importance.

The focus, the mental intensity has been above and beyond where we'd expect it right now, Reds manager David Bell said. We need that, we don't want to hold that back. From that standpoint, we're right on track and guys are into it. The attitude has been unbelievable. I don't know what to compare it to, but I'm really proud of the first five or six days, just the way the players are going about it.

Cincinnati Reds catcher Curt Casali (12) talks with starting pitcher Lucas Sims (39) between innings of an intrasquad scrimmage game during preseason training at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.(Photo: Sam Greene)

Reds utility player Kyle Farmer, in an interview on WLWs Hot Stove League, pointed to a live BP matchup between Trevor Bauer and Nick Castellanos on Monday. Playing against each other in the American League Central, theyve faced each other 55 times. Its more than Bauer has faced any hitter, and more than Castellanos has faced any pitcher.

Farmer, who was catching Bauer on Monday, said it felt like an intense matchup. Castellanos flew out to right field on the last pitch of Mondays workout, but Bauer let him stay in the batters box. Castellanos hammered the next pitch into the upper deck and did a bat flip while Bauer laughed.

"They were just talking smack back and forth, Farmer said. I mean it was insane. I was just like, Good Lord.

Castellanos added:"Just kind of friendly chirping back and forth. Obviously wanting to bring the best out of each other.

During Wednesdays three-inning scrimmage, the Reds tried to treat it as a typical game in the COVID-19 era. They played walk-up music for each hitter. They used the two dugouts. Bell served as the third-base coach for the third inning when they did the new extra-innings rule with the last out of the previous inning starting at second base. Innings were based more on pitch counts, so there was a four-out inning and a two-out inning.

Bell said they will continue to add more elements to the scrimmages. Bench coach Freddie Benavides was set to manage Thursdays Freds Reds against third-base coach J.R. Houses team, the Casas Crew.

You know what? I didnt really notice anything, Winker said. Obviously, its quiet. Once the game started, it was just competing and having fun. Were back out there playing ball. It just felt right. It didnt really bother me. Obviously, theres a constant noise when theres a crowd. Its nothing that I wont be able to get used to.

The Reds piped in some fake crowd noise to experiment, but players didnt seem to enjoy it and it was turned off after a few minutes.

That was something we wanted to try, Bell said. I don't know what we'll do there. I don't know if it'll end up kind of being a standard crowd noise that MLB gives us and mandates for all the teams or it will be completely up to us.

We might try something different than the one we used (Wednesday). That's good, that's why we tried it. It wasn't really serving the purpose we wanted.

Assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham served as the home-plate umpire behind a screen, several feet behind the catcher. Players in the field and dugouts chirped at Cothamto ring up guys on called third strikes.

He had a rough day, Bell said, laughing. He did say its amazing because your ears are pointing right at the dugout, every comment that came from the dugout, it's amazing how loud and clear you could hear it. He did a good job. He was a little sensitive, but he hung in there and did a pretty good job.

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The scoreboard displays pitching and hitting data in live batting practice during preseason training at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.(Photo: Sam Greene)

ADVANCED SCOREBOARD: During live batting practice sessions at GABP, the Reds have analytical data shown on one of the scoreboards: velocity and spin rate for pitches, exit velocity and launch angle for hitters.

Its just part of the game, Bell said. I really think that guys are used to it enough already, used to that type of information, that its not a negative in any way. They can use it as a tool. Its not they cant focus on their jobs because theyre looking at their numbers all the time.

I think, especially this generation of players, theyre so savvy with technology and how to use it all. Theres no harm and we think it can benefit all of us to have that information.

NO BUS TRIPS: With a regionalized schedule the Reds will play National League and American League Central teams exclusively teams in the division wont have to use many frequent flier miles.

The Reds furthest road trip is a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins to conclude the regular season. Would they consider taking a bus to any places like Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

We will fly, Bell said. You look at our schedule, it's pretty easy. We have night games on travel days and that actually works out better for us with the short flights and staying on the evening schedule. Typically, you're always hoping for day games on getaway days, but the way this turned out, we like it better this way.

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David Bell says Cincinnati Reds camp intensity is 'above and beyond' expectations - The Cincinnati Enquirer

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July 9th, 2020 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Mental Attitude