2/21/2014 2:48 P.M. ET
Bottom of lineup being counted on to produce
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds weren't able to make additions to their offense after some shortcomings last season. To get a boost from within, they will be expecting contributions from all portions of the lineup, including the final three regular hitters -- Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart.
Manager Bryan Price believes the trio's success was pivotal for the Reds to having a good season.
"Any team that's going to be consistent throughout the course of the year and competitive has to be able to extract production from throughout the lineup," Price said on Friday. "You can't expect the middle of the order to carry us throughout the season. They're also three of the players that have most room to improve in their ceiling. I don't think we've seen the best of those three players. There is a great deal of optimism here that there is more in the tank for each one of those guys. They have to be motivated to get it, which I know they are, to get the most out of themselves. We as a staff have to be able to create the vehicle to help them reach their potential."
Price spoke individually to Frazier, Mesoraco and Cozart during the offseason.
"They know the importance of where they are in the lineup and the fact they know we're confident and have high expectations that their game is going to evolve to another level," Price said.
Broxton ready to get back on mound
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Because he had major surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm in August, Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton was expected to be behind other pitchers when he got to camp.
The gap is starting to close some lately. After throwing on alternate days last week, Broxton has moved up to throwing every day, alternating long toss one day with shorter distances the other.
"Everything is fine. There have been no problems throwing, and no stiffness after," Broxton said on Friday.
On Monday, Broxton is scheduled to throw from a mound for the first time.
"We'll see how it goes and see how I feel," Broxton said. "Hopefully, everything will feel normal."
Broxton, 29, now has an L-shaped scar near his right elbow, similar to the aftermath of Tommy John surgery. He tore his flexor mass tendon off of the bone during an Aug. 21 game vs. the D-backs. Broxton, who had just given up a home run, felt the pain from the tear when it happened, but still threw three more pitches before exiting after a walk.
Two days later, Broxton had season-ending surgery. He later watched a video of Dr. Tim Kremchek performing the procedure. One thing he noticed was that Kremchek broke two drill bits while drilling into his bone.
"He said it was the first time that had happened in 20 years," Broxton said.
Latos continues to rebuild strength following surgery
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds pitcher Mat Latos, who had surgery on Feb. 14 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, threw for the third straight day on Friday. Manager Bryan Price believed Latos was gradually getting closer to being able to throw from a mound.
"I think we have to make sure the strength is there," Price said. "The good thing is he's strong enough to go out there and not just be weight-bearing, but be able to be active and throw and keep his arm in shape."
Latos is up to throwing at distances of over 60 feet on flat ground.
"As you guys know, pitching -- a lot of it starts with the legs, works through the core and comes out through the hand," Price said. "He's still doing all of his flexibility and strength exercises. When he's ready, we'll get him out there."
There was debate in Price's office Friday morning over the merits of the classic movie, "Bull Durham." Price was asked if he could have worked with actor Tim Robbins in having a more believable delivery as Nuke LaLoosh.
"Jeff [Pico] is going to be working with Tim Robbins," Price joked, referring to his pitching coach.
Price was asked if he was ever a technical assistant in a baseball movie.
"I haven't. Back when I was making $18,000 a year, I was looking for one of those assignments. I never had one."