2/23/2014 3:45 P.M. ET
Bourgeois hopes history in NL Central helps this spring
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Outfielder Jason Bourgeois is among the non-roster players in Reds camp this spring seeking a job. Free agents in similar spots are often signing their deals in the days and weeks just before Spring Training opens.
Bourgeois, 32, didn't spend much time guessing the market. He signed his Minor League contract with the Reds early, on Oct. 24, 2013.
"It's been an attractive team to me for the last couple of years because of the atmosphere that they bring day in and day out," Bourgeois said Sunday. "It's been a winning club the last three or four years. It just seemed like a good fit, especially being back in the National League.
"I've had success in this division. I was kind of itching to get back to it."
Bourgeois played for the Brewers in 2009, and 2010-11 with the Astros when they were still in the NL Central. His best season came in '11, when the Houston native batted .294 with a .323 on-base percentage and 31 stolen bases.
During 2012 Spring Training, the retooling Astros traded Bourgeois to the Royals.
"That was a tough situation," said Bourgeois, a lifetime .259 hitter with a .305 OBP. "I really didn't want to leave home. But it is a business. They were doing some things over there, rebuilding wise. The trade was a little shocking. I didn't understand Kansas City's plans for me."
Bourgeois split the 2012 season between Kansas City and Triple-A Omaha. Last season, he spent most of the year with the Rays' Triple-A club in Durham, but played nine big league games and hit .188 (3-for-16).
With the Reds, the right-handed-hitting Bourgeois is hoping to land a spot as the fourth or fifth outfielder. He's comfortable playing at Great American Ball Park, where he has hit .303 (10-for-33) with a .361 OBP.
"I like hitting there. I like playing there," Bourgeois said. "It's good. It's a short ballpark. It's good for defense. I've had some success hitting there. It's a cool little place to play."
Latos continues to progress quickly from knee surgery
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds pitcher Mat Latos continues to make speedy progress from left knee surgery. On Sunday, Latos' fourth day of his long-tossing program had him throwing at distances of 100-120 feet.
"I set a goal of the end of next week to start throwing at 100 feet and I've surpassed that today," Latos said.
What really pleased Latos, though, was that he could participate in stretching, throwing and drills with his teammates for the first time this spring. He had a torn meniscus repaired in his knee on Feb. 14, the first day pitchers and catchers reported.
"All in all, today was the best day that I've had," Latos said. "I had been doing my exercises and strengthening stuff, but I wasn't able to actually get out and interact with the guys. This was a huge positive to be able to go out there and throw and run and the other stuff."
Latos backed up the bases during cutoff and relay drills and did some limited fielding drills that didn't require turning on his knee to throw. He also performed some agility drills on his own.
"Backpedaling bothered me a little bit, but that's to be expected," Latos said.
There is no target date known yet for when Latos will begin throwing from a mound. He is not considered to be too far behind the other pitchers, however. He began throwing again quickly after the surgery and had completed his rehab from October elbow surgery that removed four bone chips.
"We're boosting up the cardio where I'm putting in a huge amount of effort real quick, because I have to get my legs under me," Latos said. "The arm has been there. I've already rehabbed that. I haven't taken a huge step back. After four days, I'm already at 100-plus feet. The knee feels good. Dr. [Tim] Kremchek says he's not worried about me reinjuring it."
Reds ask Rolen to return as Spring Training instructor
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Former Reds third baseman Scott Rolen spent the 2013 season out of baseball, although he never formally announced his retirement. Manager Bryan Price said the team has reached out to Rolen to see if he would be a spring instructor.
"We want Scott to be part of our organization," Price said Sunday. "His presence is definitely a positive thing. We've got a lot of really good baseball people in our system as it stands -- a lot of iconic Reds former players that are here and help influence our club. Scott would be another outstanding influence."
Rolen spent 17 years in the Majors, including 2009-12 with the Reds. He was viewed as a lead-by-example type of team leader. Leadership was a noticeable void on the team last season.
If Rolen were to return, Price said he would likely have focus on the player development side. Rolen was apparently receptive to the idea, but as a husband and father of two young children, there are scheduling issues to overcome. Rolen has previously said he is not interested in a full-time coaching career.
"I think he appreciates what he's asked his family to go through. He's making a strong commitment to being a dad and a husband," Price said. "I think there's a way to make it work within his schedule and also help influence our players, probably in our player development system."