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Reds Caravan will test fans' interest, loyalty

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-31 02:44:27-05

CINCINNATI – Will Reds fans show up at the ballpark this season with so many of their favorite players gone?

The Reds Caravan figures to be the first test of fan interest and loyalty.

The four-day Caravan starts Thursday with a watered-down lineup missing three favorites from last year's tour -  Todd Frazier, Brayan Pena and Sam LeCure. The Reds cast off all three in the offseason.

Three remaining players who used to tour - Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey – are also missing. The club is trying to trade Phillips and Bruce, and Bailey has been rehabbing his surgically-repaired elbow in Arizona in hopes of rejoining the team in May.

So the Caravan, like the team, has a new look with minor league pitcher Cody Reed, obtained in the Johnny Cueto trade with the Royals; infielder Adam Duvall, who played 27 games here after coming over in Mike Leake trade with the Giants, and infielder Alex Blandino, the Reds' first-round choice in the 2014 draft.

Familiar faces include shortstop Zack Cozart and catcher Devin Mesaraco, coming off injuries in 2015. Cozart played just 53 games and Mesoraco 23.

New General Manager Dick Williams will also be on the Caravan.

The four Caravan tours travel a total of 3,300 miles through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee and make 16 stops, providing fans with the opportunity to interact with players, alumni, top minor leaguers, broadcasters and front office staff.  

For the first time, the tours will come together in a final stop at the Florence Mall on Sunday, Jan. 31.

All Caravan stops are free and open to the public.

Here is the Caravan schedule (all times Eastern):

North Tour: Broadcasters Thom Brennaman and Jim Day, pitcher J.J. Hoover (Thu.-Fri. only), catcher Devin Mesoraco (Sat. only), minor league pitcher Cody Reed, former Reds catcher and Dayton Dragons catching coach Corky Miller, President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty, Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini and mascot Mr. Redlegs.

> Thursday, Jan. 28:  Columbus, Ohio (Polaris Fashion Place) 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

> Friday, Jan. 29:  Lima, Ohio (University of Northwestern Ohio Event Center) 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

> Saturday, Jan. 30: Dayton, Ohio (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

> Saturday, Jan. 30 Hamilton, Ohio (Parrish Auditorium at Miami-Hamilton University) 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

South Tour: Broadcasters Jeff Brantley and Jim Kelch, outfielder Billy Hamilton, shortstop Zack Cozart (Nashville only), infielder Adam Duvall (Louisville only), minor leaguer Jesse Winker, Senior Vice President & General Manager Dick Williams, former outfielder Austin Kearns (Lexington only) and mascot Rosie Red.

> Thursday, Jan. 28: Louisville, Ky. (Louisville Slugger Field) 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

> Friday, Jan. 29: Nashville, Tenn. (CoolSprings Galleria) 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. CT)

> Saturday, Jan. 30: Bowling Green, Ky. (Greenwood Mall) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (10 a.m.-1 p.m. CT)

Saturday, Jan. 30 Lexington, Ky. (Fayette Mall) 4:30 to 7 pm

East Tour: Broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Chris Welsh, catcher Tucker Barnhart, minor league pitcher Amir Garrett, Assistant General Manager Nick Krall and mascot Gapper.

> Thursday, Jan. 28: Athens, Ohio (The Market on State) 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

> Friday, Jan. 29: Charleston, W.Va. (Charleston Town Center) 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

> Saturday, Jan. 30:  Parkersburg/Vienna, W.Va. (Grand Central Mall) 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

> Saturday, Jan. 30: Ashland, Ky. (Fannin Motors) 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

West Tour: Broadcaster Jeff Piecoro, manager Bryan Price, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., pitcher Keyvius Sampson, minor league infielder Alex Blandino, Reds Hall of Famer Tom Browning, Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe and mascot Mr. Red.

> Thursday, Jan. 28: Muncie, Ind. (Stoops Automotive) 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

> Friday, Jan. 29: Evansville, Ind. (Eastland Mall) 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CT)

> Saturday, Jan. 30: Bloomington, Ind. (College Mall) 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

> Saturday, Jan. 30: Indianapolis, Ind. (Castleton Square Mall) 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional Caravan participants may be added. Times are subject to change.

Seating is limited at all Caravan stops. Autographs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis while time allows. No posed photographs. There may be restrictions on items celebrities can sign.

Visit reds.com/caravan for up-to-date information, maps and photos.