Phillips arrives, declines to speak with reporters
Price doesn't think offseason trade talks will be an issue for second baseman
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Following a turbulent offseason of trade rumors, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips reported to Spring Training on Wednesday on the day the full squad was scheduled to report.
Phillips declined to speak with reporters, however.
"I'm just here to play," Phillips said through a team spokesman.
During November and December, Phillips' name repeatedly came up in reports of possible trades. At the Winter Meetings when it surfaced that Cincinnati offered him to the Yankees for outfielder Brett Gardner, which New York declined.
Perhaps unhappy about the trade rumors, Phillips also would not speak with reporters during Redsfest.
Reds manager Bryan Price did not think Phillips would have any issues this season with the team after the events of the winter.
"I've spoken with him a small handful of times this offseason," Price said. "He made a good commitment to come out for Redsfest. What I'd love to do is talk about this at the front end of Spring Training and then just get past it. To me, it really has gotten to the point of a non-issue. I don't even really think about it at this point in time. We're so far past those early offseason times where it was a front-and-center question."
In 151 games last season, Phillips batted .261 with 18 home runs, a .310 on-base percentage and a career-high 103 RBIs.
Price keeping Votto in No. 3 spot
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Much offseason conversation among fans and media was dedicated to whether Reds first baseman Joey Votto needed to change his approach at the plate and be less selective.
Votto led the National League with a .435 on-base percentage last season and reached base a club-record 316 times, including 116 walks. But he had 24 home runs and 73 RBIs, which were lower than his track record.
Reds manager Bryan Price is not going to ask Votto to change how he hits.
"In his defense, he scored a lot of runs last year and he got on base a high percentage and put us in situations to help Brandon [Phillips] drive in 100-plus [runs] and Jay [Bruce] drive in 100-plus. There was run production and a lot of it from Joey. The one thing I think everyone else discusses is the total amount of RBIs. How much can you really change approach as far as expanding a zone? Does it make sense to expand a strike zone in order to drive in runs?
"It's simply taking advantage of the good pitches to hit. I think the depth of the quality of hitters we have behind him … could also provide him with some opportunities. I can't ask him to expand his strike zone. He's worked so hard to get there. We hope when he gets good pitches to hit, he hits them and we have guys on base ahead of him that he can drive in."
Votto -- who batted .305 and played all 162 games in 2013 -- has been the No. 3 hitter in the Reds' lineup for several years, a spot reserved often for run producers. Price is opposed to moving Votto up to the No. 2 spot, where he could get more plate appearances over the course of a season.
"I haven't [considered it] at this point in time," Price said. "It's hard to look at Joey Votto and then take a season like 2013 and make that his defining season of who he is as a hitter. This is a guy that hit as many as 37 home runs in a season and has been well over 100 RBIs. He's a high on-base percentage guy that does an awful lot of things well for our club. I'm looking forward to a big season. That being said, we've got to get guys on base in front of him. He's got to get pitches to hit and take advantage of them. At this point in time, he's hitting third unless we feel the need to make an adjustment to inspire the offense."
• Infielder Henry Rodriguez, who was designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and reported to Reds camp Wednesday as a non-roster player. Rodriguez was removed from the 40-man roster when the Reds claimed pitcher Brett Marshall off of waivers from the Yankees. Cincinnati now has 60 players in camp this spring.
• All but one player was present for Wednesday's first full-squad workout -- outfielder Roger Bernadina. Travel issues delayed Bernadina, who is expected in camp Thursday.