Ken Broo's Reds Spring Training blog: Zack Cozart, new approach to camp and figure skating

GOODYEAR, Ariz -- OK, so you were waiting for this -- It was as chilly here Friday morning as it was in the Tri-State. 

It was 46 degrees as we left our palatial hotel in Glendale for the short trip to the Reds complex. However, the fine forecasters at our Scripps station in Phoenix promise a high of 75 degrees.

Billy Hamilton Needs To Work On His Bunting

We were supposed to talk with Billy Hamilton early Friday morning but he had to cancel. He was due for some extra work on bunting. Hamilton was out here for a week before the Reds Caravan working specifically on his bunting skills.

We should catch up with him Saturday.

Zack 'Golden Glove' Cozart?

I had a long talk Friday with shortstop Zack Cozart. He says having Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, two Gold Glove winners (in Phillips' case multiple times), motivates him to try to win one of his own. 

Cozart confirmed an observation I've had about this camp. It's being run differently under Bryan Price than camps were conducted under Dusty Baker. There is more structure and more emphasis on fundamentals. For example, in previous camps, pitchers usually threw as a group in a bullpen area. Now, they're throwing live batting practice. 

There's a side benefit to the everyday players with this. Instead of getting 50 mph fastballs from a coach, they're getting pitches in the 85-95 mph range. And that's what they see during games. Initially, the pitchers have the advantage in this exercise. But the hitters will eventually catch up.

Who Doesn't Love Chris Heisey?

I also spent some time Friday morning with Chris Heisey, everyone's favorite player when one of the starting outfielders struggles. 

Heisey said the Reds will try to become a different team offensively this season. Gone, apparently, is the reliance on the long ball that Baker favored. This team will try to manufacture runs. That, of course, is easier said than done. But the goal is to get away from waiting around for a three-run home run.

Heisey also had an interesting observation on Hamilton taking over in center field from Shin Soo Choo. While Choo's on-base percentage, consistently over .400 in his career, will be hard to approach for Hamilton, Heisey believes once on base, Hamilton will completely change the dynamic of the game.

One example: the possibility of Hamilton scoring from third base on a ground out is infinitely more likely than the same thing happening with Choo.

Where's Your Winter Coat, Don Long?

I also bumped into the Reds new hitting coach, Don Long, at our hotel Thursday night. We had a brief chat about his limited time in Cincinnati. Long is a West Coast guy and his hometown is Seattle. But he says he liked the few weeks he spent in our town this winter. Except, of course, for the snow.

At Least It Wasn't The French Judge This Time

Totally off topic, but why would anyone be surprised that figure skating might be fixed? And how did a judge who was suspended for an alleged involvement in a figure skating scandal 15 years ago be allowed to judge an Olympics event? Or one that is married to a Russian athletic official? Just asking.

Up Next...

I'm heading back outside to watch Aroldis Chapman throw live batting practice. This should be interesting. I'll be chatting with Chapman, through an interpreter, Friday afternoon. That should be interesting as well.

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