02/12/2013 6:14 PM ET
Baker puts late-season health scare behind him
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As the Reds have put 2012 behind them with Tuesday's start of Spring Training, so too has manager Dusty Baker in regards to the health scare he had near the end of the regular season.
Baker, 63, suffered a minor stroke and irregular heartbeat in September. He lost 20 pounds during his 11-day absence and most of the weight still appeared to be off.
"I'm just watching what I eat," he said. "I can eat what I want, but eat less of it. No salt, which I've been on a long time. [I've had] minimal alcohol intake. It was easy this winter, but we hadn't lost a couple of games. I have to make sure I get my rest, work out, enjoy life and try not to stress out."
Cueto's oblique feels fine after offseason
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds ace Johnny Cueto is fully recovered from the strained right oblique injury that marred his and the team's postseason.
"I don't feel anything. I feel good," Cueto said Tuesday after Reds pitchers and catchers completed their first workout of Spring Training. "I've been throwing and working since October."
Cueto has not been named to represent the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
"I don't know yet," Cueto said of his status. "I want to."
Cueto went a career-best 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA in 33 starts and 217 innings last season to lead the Reds. He finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award balloting after finishing the season ranked third in wins and ERA, and tied for first in starts.
But Cueto had to exit Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Giants after only eight pitches when he felt pain in his side and back.
There was no concern that Cueto would not be ready for Spring Training or the 2013 season.
"He had all winter," said manager Dusty Baker. "It's not like he had arm surgery or something."
Rolen decides not to rejoin Reds in camp
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- While not definitively announcing his retirement, third baseman Scott Rolen and the Reds revealed Tuesday that he would not return to the club for Spring Training.
"Right now I'm simply not ready to make a commitment," Rolen said in a statement released via the club. "I would like to leave my options open, without closing any doors. I am looking forward to all of the challenges, both personally and professionally, I will face in the future."
Rolen, who will turn 38 on April 4, hit .245 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs in 92 games last season. He missed 34 games with a left shoulder injury and several more with back problems. He earned $6.5 million in 2012 during the final season of a three-year contract and was widely expected to retire because of the toll on his body and his desire to be close to his family in Bloomington, Ind.
That's why the Reds had in essence already moved on from Rolen by naming Todd Frazier the everyday third baseman early in the offseason. The club also signed free agent Jack Hannahan as a backup third baseman and infielder.
"A big part of our family is gone," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Like always, you pick up new leaders. New leaders are born or acquired when one leader leaves. You don't know who it's going to be. Most leaders are kind of watered in their growth by the previous leader."
Rolen, a seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, is a career .281 hitter with 316 home runs and 1,287 RBIs in his 17 seasons.
Cincinnati acquired Rolen from the Blue Jays for third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and reliever Josh Roenicke at the Trade Deadline in 2009, despite being out of contention. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who had Rolen while with the Cardinals, valued his leadership that much and felt it was important toward taking the next step as a team.
"Scott made significant contributions to our team's recent success, and it isn't a coincidence we made the playoffs in two of his three full seasons here," Jocketty said. "He made a huge impact in Cincinnati with his work ethic and leadership on the field, in the clubhouse and in our community."
Transition plan for Chapman remains unknown
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There might be a plan for how the Reds will transition lefty Aroldis Chapman from last year's closer to this year's rotation member, but it wasn't revealed publicly Tuesday, when pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training.
"I've got a preference," said manager Dusty Baker. "It depends on what's best for the player first and what's best for us. Some guys like the workload. We started off Aroldis the same way last year and it benefited him. It's to his benefit to work and use all of his pitches. He was mighty good."
Chapman was a starter in camp last year but injuries to the bullpen forced his switch back to the bullpen, where he eventually became the closer and racked up 38 saves while dazzling with his triple-digit velocity.
Baker realizes Chapman is a hot-button issue for fans and media alike. A fan stopped Chapman in the airport on Monday, when he arrived in Phoenix.
"It's kind of down the list -- do you start him off a little bit or a lot?" Baker said. "Do you sit him like [Stephen] Strasburg? That's the question everybody wants to know."
• All Reds pitchers reported to camp with the exception of lefty lsmael Guillon, who had visa issues leaving Venezuela.
• Starter Mat Latos did not work out because he had to take a physical to finalize his new two-year, $11.5 million contract agreed to on Tuesday.
• The Reds announced Tuesday they signed right-handed pitcher Dakota Mitchell from Australia. Mitchell, 18, attended the MLB Australian Academy for the past two years.