02/19/12 5:03 PM EST
Full circle: Tomko signs with Reds
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Baker refuses to discuss job security
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds manager Dusty Baker knows the questions are coming about his future and job security. On Sunday before his team's first Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers, Baker made it clear he would no longer field them."I'm not [talking about it]," Baker said. The 62-year-old Baker's current two-year deal expires after this season. It makes him a so-called "lame duck" manager for the second time in three years. He was also in that situation in 2010, when Cincinnati won the National League Central Division before the disappointment of 79 wins last season. Some have speculated that Baker could be on the hot seat if the team has another lackluster season. To him, it would not be a factor for him to change his managing style.
"What kind of factor can it be?" Baker said. "Like I've said before, how many people have a one-year contract, period? You know how many times I've been in this situation? I've been in it four, five or six times, whatever it is. You just have to keep proving yourself I guess. Some people do and some people don't. I'm one of the guys that seems like he has to, to keep proving myself.
"At this point, very little bothers me. I'm secure in myself, secure in my ability, secure in my family, secure in my life."Now an elder statesman of the league, Baker is fourth in tenure with the same NL team, behind the Padres' Bud Black, the Giants' Bruce Bochy and the Phillies' Charlie Manuel. With 1,484 wins over 18 seasons, Baker is second on the all-time victories list among active managers, behind Jim Leyland of the Tigers. "How many people have the opportunity and ability to stick around that long?" Baker said. "Evidently, it doesn't mean much to some people, but it means a lot to me. I remember year No. 1. I've had some great years, some bad years, some years of ups and downs. It boils down to the more talent you have, the better your chances are." Baker did not have the most enjoyable of offseasons after having minor surgeries on a knee and elbow that kept him from hunting or fishing for six weeks. He also endured some personal losses. "I had a good friend die this winter, a couple of them," Baker said. "I had a good friend's son die a week ago here, in a trampoline accident. You ask me if I am going to do anything differently, if I'm worried ... when that happens, it puts things in the proper perspective."
All 36 Reds pitchers and catchers reported on time and worked out without incident on Sunday after taking physicals. The full-squad workouts begin on Friday. The club held an approximate two-hour workout on Sunday that included pitchers Ryan Madson, Nick Masset, Bill Bray and Andrew Brackman throwing in the bullpen. The players also performed fielding and running drills. With Brett Tomko's addition, the Reds now have six pitchers in camp who are 6-foot-5 or taller, including Brackman, Madson, Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and Logan Ondrusek. Brackman is the tallest at 6-foot-10. Among the position players already in Reds camp are Zack Cozart and Chris Valaika. Both have spent most of their offseasons in Arizona rehabilitating from injuries suffered last season and are 100 percent ready for camp.