6/21/2013 10:57 P.M. ET
Former New York Giant turns attention to Reds
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Not many players have won college national championships in both baseball and football, but Chad Jones did it for Louisiana State and was drafted to play professionally in both sports. A left-handed pitcher, Jones was a ninth-round selection of the Reds in the Draft earlier this month.
A safety and third-round Draft pick of the New York Giants in 2010, Jones saw his football career end after a car accident where he broke his left fibula, tibia and heel. He spent more than two years trying to get back to football and had workouts with the Giants, Eagles and Saints.
"I came to the conclusion that my leg wasn't going to be up to par for football," Jones said. "I was basically stuck at 90 percent. I was fortunate to be able to play both sports. Being a left-handed pitcher, it puts not too much stress on my leg or body. When it comes to baseball, I'm 100 percent."
Jones picked up baseball again only recently, however.
"Since my accident, I just started up baseball about four months ago," Jones said Friday. "My last pitch was 2009 at the College World Series.
"I always knew I had baseball talent coming up through high school and at LSU and what I did in the College World Series. I definitely knew I had what it takes to pitch professionally."
Jones, who signed with Cincinnati shortly after being drafted, reported to the Reds' complex in Goodyear, Ariz. He has his first bullpen session Saturday. He does not know what kind of velocity he will have but said he threw 92-93 mph in college.
"I've matured and got a little stronger," said Jones, who was part of LSU football's BCS championship in 2007. "Hopefully as my arm gets a little looser, I can surpass that."
On Friday, Jones was among 61 players and staff from the AZL Reds team and player development complex on the field watching Reds batting practice. Most likely had not been in many stadiums the size of Chase Field. But Jones has played even bigger venues and been on bigger stages. He hopes to experience it again in a baseball uniform.
"Baseball is my first love," Jones said. "Football kind of took over once I started playing in front of 96,000 people at LSU with everyone chanting your name. But the College World Series was the highlight of my collegiate career. I won a national championship in football, but the College World Series was so special to me."
Bruce as powerful as ever coming off homestand
PHOENIX -- Reds right fielder Jay Bruce could be poised for another one of those stretches where he is the hottest hitter in baseball.
Bruce's bat has made contact for some no-doubt, low line-drive home runs as of late, and he added a high blast to right field in the fourth inning against the D-backs on Friday. Bruce entered that game 7-for-28 (.250) on the prior seven-game homestand but had five solo homers, including three in the last four games during that span.
"I'm trying to put myself in a position to be successful," Bruce said. "It's what I've been saying and sounds cliché, but I don't focus on the results too, too much. I'm trying to be ready when I do have a chance to do something positive."
Bruce, who has a team-leading 16 home runs, entered Friday batting .327 (18-for-55) over his last 13 games.
Facing Miley, Robinson back at leadoff
PHOENIX -- For the sixth time this season -- and second time in three games -- the Reds installed left fielder Derrick Robinson in the leadoff spot ahead of usual leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo. With lefty Wade Miley starting for the D-backs, the left-handed-hitting Choo batted second.
"It's something I've done my whole life, especially coming up through the Minor Leagues," Robinson said. "The main focus is getting on base."
Robinson is a switch-hitter and can be a weapon as the team's fastest player.
"When he gets on," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Robinson has been struggling a little bit himself lately. I'd like to see him get on some more in front of Choo. If Choo isn't getting on, it makes it tough on Joey [Votto]."
Baker wants to get the opposing starting pitcher working from the stretch as early as possible.
"Very few starters feel as comfortable out of the stretch as they do the wind-up."
Robinson has not ignited yet from the top spot as he was batting .200 (4-for-20) entering Friday.
"Leading off the game, you typically like to work the counts, see what the pitcher has and if he's wild or whatever," Robinson said. "If he's throwing strikes, you focus on getting a pitch and doing something with it -- whether it's bunting or driving it where you want to drive it."