MESA, Ariz. _ So pitchers and catchers report today, so who are we talking to? Position players. Among the early arrivals at Fitch Park this morning were outfielder Reed Johnson (a nonroster guy) and second baseman Blake DeWitt. Reed dished a little on team chemistry. You might have figured he’s a big proponent.
"I think a lot of people say that chemistry is overrated, but I think not only in that city, but when you're in that clubhouse and it's a small clubhouse, and you've got a lot of media every day, I think that it's more important in that situation that you do have good chemistry,” he said. "I that it's a good thing that guys like Woody (Kerry Wood) are back, good clubhouse guys and guys that can really mesh theclubhouse and bring guys together. I remember in '08, just going out to team dinners with everybody, almost like a voluntary thing. You had 90 percent of the guys show up. That was a good thing, and hopefully we can get something like that going again."
Reed also gave a hat tip to the fans of Chicago.
"I think most of it for me is the fan appreciation,” he said. “I just think they appreciate the game of baseball. One of my second or third at-bats in Chicago, I grounded out to second and drove a run in. The whole stadium stands up. I'm looking around like, 'What's going on? Are they cheering because Derrek Lee is coming up to the plate next, or is it because I just drove in a run, or what's going on?' That has a lot to do with it, the way I play the game. I think that the fans of Chicago just appreciate those little things."
As far as DeWitt goes, he says the leadoff situation is not his top priority right now.
“To be honest, I haven’t even thought about it,” Blake said. “It’s one of those things where you prepare yourself for anything. If they ask me to do it, I’ll be more than happy to do it. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a big responsibility hitting eighth.”
However, he did say work with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has gone well.
“It’s been a big help. He changed a few things in my swing, tweaked a few things. Working this off-season, I feel I made a few strides that can really help me throughout this year.”
We’ll meet with Jim Hendry and Mike Quade in just a bit and have more here and for the paper Monday (online later today). We’re also tweeting at BruceMiles2112 at Twitter. Fun stuff.