GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- During a news conference at the Reds Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, the second annual Reds Futures High School Showcase was announced. The number of participating schools in the baseball tournament is 64, up from 50 in the first year.
There will be 32 high school teams from greater Cincinnati, northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana playing at local fields from March 25-April 15. Three of the fields hosting games were remodeled in recent years with grants from the Reds Community Fund.
Former Reds players and 1990 World Series winners Ron Oester and Todd Benzinger will throw out ceremonial first pitches at games involving their alma maters. Oester is a 1974 graduate of Withrow High School. He will throw out the first pitch before the Withrow-Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy game on April 11 at Xavier University.
Benzinger, a 1981 graduate of New Richmond High School, will throw out the first pitch when New Richmond hosts Goshen on April 12. Benzinger's brother Brian is the varsity baseball coach at New Richmond.
Baker unlikely to lift Choo for Heisey late in games
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Asked if versatile fourth outfielder Chris Heisey might be a late-inning defensive replacement in center fielder for Shin-Soo Choo, Reds manager Dusty Baker all but ruled it out.
"In my opinion, I think Heisey is a better corner man," Baker said on Tuesday. "If Heisey had been a center fielder or a leadoff man, we wouldn't have to get Choo. He can play [center field] in a pinch."
Choo was acquired in a December trade with the Indians to be Cincinnati's new leadoff hitter and center fielder. In Cleveland, Choo was a right fielder and he has little experience with center field.
"Heisey has a lot of effort," Baker said. "He'll probably play center field on days Choo doesn't play."
When it comes to gloves, Donald keeps it simple
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Newly acquired Reds utility player Jason Donald is unlike many other players who play multiple positions. Often, utility players keep several different gloves in their locker. For example, Todd Frazier had nine different gloves when he was a utility player.
"I just keep one for the infield and one for the outfield," Donald said on Tuesday. "I've found it's the easiest thing to do, for me. I know everybody has their own ways of doing it. The more routine or normal I can make it no matter where I go bodes a lot better for me."
Donald, 28, was acquired from the Indians in the December trade that also brought Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds for Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius. Donald had been in the Indians organization since 2009 and played parts of three big league seasons there.
"Any time you get traded, it's a shock and a surprise, but it was also immediate excitement," Donald said. "I knew what this club has been doing the last couple of years because we're so close in Spring Training. You have an idea of what's going on. This ballclub is loaded."
Last season, Donald played 43 games in three stints with Cleveland and batted .202. His defense and versatility were more valued as he played third base, shortstop, second base, left field and center field in 2012.
"Now I try to be a chameleon and wherever I'm put, I try to do the best I possibly can," Donald said.
Donald, who is out of Minor League options, is competing for a bench spot with the likes of shortstop Cesar Izturis, rookie Henry Rodriguez and others. He knows it won't be an easy battle.
"Any time you come to a club like this, there's always competition for those last few spots," Donald said. "That's what makes teams like this so good. I think competition brings out the best in people, too."
• For the second time this spring, the Reds had their pitchers face hitters in live batting practice Tuesday. Among those who pitched were Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Homer Bailey, Jose Arredondo, Sean Marshall, Manny Parra and Alfredo Simon.
Chapman, who is trying to make the rotation, featured a variety of pitches besides his high-velocity fastball. Chapman was working on a changeup, slider, two-seam fastball and a split-fingered fastball.
• Bronson Arroyo, who recently got over flu-like symptoms, was slated to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. So was rotation-mate Mat Latos, who missed drills on Monday because of a sore right ankle.