CINCINNATI -- Bryan Price experienced Redsfest for four years as the Reds' pitching coach. As the team's new manager, Price has been front and center during Redsfest 2013 and appreciative of the warm welcome he's received.
"It's been great. The reception has been phenomenal," Price said on Saturday. "I couldn't have ever expected to have this type of reception from the fan base. I've been really touched by it.
"Redsfest is phenomenal. I've been a part of three different organizations and their fan fest types of galas. This is terrific for many reasons. No. 1, it's the dead of winter and the baseball fans in Cincinnati come out in droves to support this team. The Reds are good at bringing back the iconic players, but also some of the guys that were role players but significant in Reds history. It's an honor to be around so many guys that I watched as a kid growing up going to Candlestick Park and seeing the Reds beat up on the Giants. Seeing these guys come up and be so supportive of me as manager is much beyond what I ever would have expected."
Price took part in the standard autograph sessions, and on Saturday, he was featured with general manager Walt Jocketty and president/CEO Bob Castellini in a Hot Stove question-and-answer session with fans.
Fans will get to know Price in the upcoming season, but he doesn't have to introduce himself to most of the current team. The players know what he's about and have a decent idea of what to expect when the team reconvenes at Spring Training in February.
"The pre-existing relationships with the players are important," said Price, who signed a three-year contract to replace Dusty Baker in October. "I think that they know kind of what I'm about and what my character is. I practice what I preach in the sense that I've always been a team-and-organization-guy-first person. I'm asking us to universally take that approach from top to bottom. It's not a message I can blast to the team if I'm not living it."
Cueto feels 100 percent, hopes to throw soon
CINCINNATI -- Three separate stints on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle limited Reds ace Johnny Cueto to just 11 starts in 2013. Cueto feels confident that the nagging injury is behind him for good.
"I'm feeling 100 percent right now. I'm working hard," Cueto said.
Cueto has been working out five days a week at the Reds' Dominican Republic complex in Boca Chica, located about 35 minutes from his home. An offseason throwing program has yet to get underway, but could be close.
"I want to talk to [manager Bryan] Price about when I'm going to throw," Cueto said. "Maybe when I get back to the Dominican on Monday or Tuesday."
Cueto pitched three games at the end of the season, including a loss vs. the Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game. He would like to get some work in before going to Spring Training.
"I need to play winter ball," Cueto said. "I'm going to ask if it's OK."
Jocketty talks Choo, Phillips during Q&A
CINCINNATI -- During Day 2 of Redsfest on Saturday, one of the more popular draws is the Hot Stove question-and-answer session for fans. Featured on stage was manager Bryan Price, general manager Walt Jocketty and president/CEO Bob Castellini.
The questions often touch on hot-button club issues and this session was no different. A fan asked about the chances of the Reds re-signing leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo. Jocketty was not optimistic.
"It's going to be very difficult for us with the amount of money that's out there," Jocketty said.
Earlier this week, the Yankees and center fielder/leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $153 million contract -- which established a possible market price for Choo.
Another topic the came up was second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has been the subject of trade rumors. Jocketty, who moved to stop them this week, felt that an earlier offseason rumor about Phillips drawing interest from the Yankees was leaked by New York to put pressure on free agent Robinson Cano.
"It didn't work," Jocketty said. Cano reportedly agreed to a 10-year contract with the Mariners on Friday.
With the Yankees needing a second baseman, Jocketty was asked about Phillips rumors starting again. That's when Castellini intervened.
"I don't care about the Yankees. Let's move on," Castellini said.
Reds sign catcher Miller to Minor League deal
CINCINNATI -- The Reds announced that veteran catcher Corky Miller was signed to a Minor League contract and invited to big league camp at Spring Training. Miller, who will be 38 in March, had been contemplating retiring as a player.
"I was ready to go into coaching," said Miller, who attended Redsfest.
Miller is expected to spend the 2014 season at Triple-A Louisville and be a mentor to catching prospect Tucker Barnhart. Coaching with the Reds down the road is a possibility.
"He's a guy that hopefully has a future in the Reds organization for a long time," general manager Walt Jocketty said.
Newly acquired Holmberg makes it to Redsfest
CINCINNATI -- The week has been a whirlwind for new Reds left-handed pitcher David Holmberg. He was acquired from the D-backs on Tuesday in a three-way trade that sent catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Rays.
A few days later, Holmberg was at Redsfest meeting all of his teammates, coaches and Reds fans.
"All in the same week. I'm glad I made it," said Holmberg, who is on the 40-man roster and expected to add depth from Triple-A Louisville.
Holmberg, who lives in Port Charlotte, Fla., had to scramble to get a winter coat when he got to Cincinnati, which experienced a snow storm on Friday.
"They don't sell a lot of those in Florida," he said.
Holmberg, 22, has spent most of the last two seasons at Double-A Mobile, where he was 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 26 starts in 2013. In 157 1/3 innings, he allowed 138 hits and 50 walks while striking out 116. He made one big league start for Arizona on Aug. 27 vs. San Diego and pitched 3 2/3 innings.
Appreciative that the Reds sought to acquire him, Holmberg was ready to get the next phase of his career moving.
"When you're wanted, it makes a player feel great," Holmberg said. "It makes you want to work harder for a team. I'm ready to work hard for the Reds and be somebody they want for a long time."