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[quote][size=3][b]11 things to watch[/b][/size]
Over the last 11 days of Reds spring training


SARASOTA, Fla. - The Reds are back in business after the only off day of the spring Tuesday. The club has 11 more days in Florida.

With today's game in Fort Myers against the Minnesota Twins, the Reds will make some adjustments. Starting pitchers will go deeper into the game. Relievers will work more in their accustomed roles. Position players will get more at-bats, and bench players will be used in pinch-hit situations.

The Reds have played well so far - at 13-5, they have the best spring record in baseball.

Though a good deal has been decided - the roster has been trimmed from 58 to 43 - there are still questions.

Here are 11 things to watch over the last 11 days of camp:

1 Ken Griffey Jr.: You have to start here. Griffey will be a good right fielder, no question about that. The question is, will he get on the field soon enough to start the season on the active roster? He probably must play by Friday or Saturday for that to happen. The guess here is he will.

Griffey's hand is still giving him trouble, but he has taken batting practice consistently. He hit Kyle Lohse as many times in one session as the Red Sox did four days later in a five-inning outing.

2 The closer: It will be tough not to put Dustin Hermanson in that role. His back is sound, and he saved 34 games with a 2.04 ERA the last time his back was healthy for a season.

3 The fifth starter: Matt Belisle has been excellent - 3-0, 1.00 ERA. Bobby Livingston and Kirk Saarloos haven't been bad either.

4 Who's going to be the 25th man? The choices: infielder Mark Bellhorn; outfielders Bubba Crosby, Chris Denorfia and Norris Hopper; and catcher Chad Moeller. The club probably would get the most out of a right-handed-hitting outfielder (Denorfia or Hopper).

Which one? "We've been debating that for years," a Reds coach said. "They're very close."

5 Last spot in the bullpen: This is a tough call. Five spots are locked - David Weathers, Todd Coffey, Mike Stanton, Rheal Cormier and Bill Bray - according to Reds manager Jerry Narron. One probably will go to Hermanson and another to Saarloos if Belisle's the fifth starter. That means Gary Majewski goes on the DL or is optioned to Louisville, and Jared Burton is offered back to Oakland.

6 Eric Milton: He has looked very hittable at times this spring (6.23 ERA, 15 hits in 82/3 innings). He's coming off an elbow injury, so the Reds probably would like to see some good outings down the stretch, starting today when he faces the Twins.

7 Josh Hamilton: All of baseball is waiting for him to struggle, but he continues to hit to the tune of .487. His pinch hit off Detroit closer Todd Jones (literally off him - the ball smacked Jones' leg) was impressive. Hamilton showed he can come through against a big-time closer. That's something he must do in the regular season.

8 The double-play combination: Shortstop Alex Gonzalez and second baseman Brandon Phillips will get lots of time together. Early returns have been impressive. "They've been good and they're going to get better," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said.

9 The new Adam Dunn: Dunn's hitting .441 this spring with a .513 on-base percentage. If that translates into a good start to the season, it will do wonders for the Reds' offense.

10 Jared Burton: He's the other Rule 5 guy. The Reds would love to keep him. Guys who throw 90 mph sliders are hard to find. But the aforementioned roster crunch makes it tough.

11 The unexpected: Krivsky hasn't made a trade this spring. Don't be surprised if he does something to keep Burton and to open a spot for Majewski when he's healthy.[/quote]

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