PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-hander Dontrelle Willis has shown the Reds he will deserve serious consideration to make the bullpen out of camp, especially in the last two of his three spring appearances.

Willis has pitched four perfect innings with four strikeouts in those two games, including two frames against the Royals on Tuesday. In his first relief appearance, against the Indians Feb. 28, he gave up two unearned runs and two hits but was off with his location in one long inning.

"I was pleased with all three of them," Willis said on Wednesday. "The side sessions I've been doing with [pitching coach Bryan Price], that's when you try to work on things. In the game, I try to compete. I didn't warm up very well going into [Tuesday's] game. After a while, you just have to say, 'Hey, let's go out there and battle and try to get some quality outs with what I have.' Sometimes it works out like that, where you get a swing from somebody and zone in."

Willis was also spectacular in the field in his last game, making one nice play on a roller near the third-base line. He also beat a runner covering first base on a tough bunt play.

The Reds signed Willis to a Minor League contract in November and invited him to camp. Because of his struggles with the Tigers in the past three seasons and the fact that he's never been a reliever, he was a question mark coming into spring. The Reds' bullpen already has two lefty relievers in Aroldis Chapman and Bill Bray, but it could have room for a third southpaw, especially one who can work multiple innings.

Willis is competing for one of the bullpen spots with several pitchers, including Matt Maloney and Sam LeCure.

"I like the way I'm playing and the way I'm working day to day," Willis said. "I feel like I'm efficient. I feel like I'm strong right now. I'm just having fun. This is a great clubhouse. It's a great place for guys like myself to come in and be successful. It's a great ballclub and staff in general. I think we've had nine barbecues already. It's very family oriented and close knit. We all know what's at stake for guys, but we're pulling for each other. That speaks volumes for someone to have your back regardless of what's at stake."

Harang hit hard in first meeting vs. Reds

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Former Reds ace Aaron Harang was a familiar face on the mound for the opposition Padres on Wednesday. Harang gave up seven earned runs on seven hits, including two home runs, over three innings.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, the Reds opened the second with five straight hits, including Ryan Hanigan's three-run homer, and took a 4-0 lead. Chris Heisey hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Harang worked out of the windup in the first inning but had trouble with working from the stretch and left his pitches up.

"I was trying to get my foot down too early and a little quick to the plate," Harang said. "It was that and a little bit of nervous adrenaline I guess."

The nervousness had to do with facing his former team. Harang was the Reds' Opening Day starter for the previous five years.

"You kind of want to go out there and do well against your old team," Harang said. "I guess I look at it as better to get it out of the way down here than having the first time throwing against them be during the season. They came out swinging. They knew I was going to throw strikes. They know my history, that I'm not going to back down and come right at you with a fastball. They were taking advantage of the ball being elevated and swung at the first pitch."

After not having his $12 million option picked up by Cincinnati after last season, Harang signed a one-year, $4 million contract to pitch for his hometown team in San Diego. He and his wife welcomed twin baby boys over the winter.

"To be able to be at home, it's going to make it easier on me and my family," Harang said. "I don't have to worry about who's going to be helping out my wife with the babies and stuff. Just to be able to say you get to pitch at home, I think every ballplayer if they had an opportunity to pitch in their hometown, they would."

Reds' Baker feels for Greinke

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Asked about the stunning news that Brewers ace Zack Greinke will miss Opening Day vs. the Reds because he broke a rib playing basketball, manager Dusty Baker could relate. In his playing days, he was injured playing a pickup game with his brothers against Jerry Manuel and his brothers.

"I got hurt and almost ended my career playing basketball," Baker said. "... I can't say anything about him. There was a time when I was out there, too. It's a disease, basketball-itis. I had it bad. Until I hurt my knee and my career was almost taken away from me ... that's when I realized I was a baseball player. And I was already in the big leagues for 4 1/2 years."

As for how Greinke's injury might help the Reds in the beginning of the season, Baker discounted it.

"Who knows? We're going to see him sooner or later. Count on it," Baker said.

Sappelt continues hitting tear

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Reds outfield prospect Dave Sappelt continued his spring tear with a 1-for-3, two-RBI game in Wednesday's win over the Padres. Sappelt hit a run-scoring double in the top of the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Sappelt, who had only 25 games at Triple-A Louisville last season, remains a long shot to make the Reds' roster out of camp. Manager Dusty Baker has maintained Sappelt has things to work on besides hitting, including baserunning and throwing.

"When they're young like that, you want them here when they have a chance to play every day," Baker said Wednesday. "If he was here now, he wouldn't play every day. It'd be better if he'd go play [in the Minors] because he has some things to learn. Here is not the place to learn if you want to play winning baseball. You want to learn all of that and make all the mistakes you're going to make in the Minors, where it really doesn't become visible."