Scott Rolen, come on back.
The Cincinnati Reds have reached out to Scott Rolen, hoping to bring the former third baseman back into the organization in some capacity. And Rolen is receptive, according to manager Bryan Price, but is wrestling with the reason he retired as a player in the first place — duties as a husband and a father.
“We want Scott to be part of our organization and his presence is always a positive thing,” said Price. “We have a lot of iconic Reds former players that help influence our club (Eric Davis, Mario Soto, Tom Browning, Ted Power) and Scott would be another outstanding influence.
“We think he’ll find his niche with us but right now he has a lot of family commitments, which is why he decided to stop playing when he did (after the 2012 season). How he fits, we don’t know yet, but we’ve made an effort to bring him in and keep him involved with the Reds, be a part of our family.”
Rolen, one of the most professional players ever to put on a Reds uniform, a clubhouse leader and a complete gamer, never officially retire. His contract expired after 2012 and he never informed the Reds of his intentions to quit playing until early in spring training of 2013.
Reclamation project: Chien-Ming Wang was a Taiwan-born celebrity on Broadway just six years ago, and it isn’t easy being a celebrity in New York.
He was a pitcher for the New York Yankees and being with the Yankees is celebrity enough. But he reached higher acclaim because he went 19-6, 19-7 and 8-2 for the New York Yankees in 2006, 2007 and 2008. His 19 wins in 2006 tied Minnesota’s Johan Santana for most in the American League.
He was approaching the point where he could name his price and the price is always high in New York.
Then came a string of injures — hamstring, strained ligament in his right foot, hip adductor weakness and right shoulder surgery early in 2010. After winning 54 games with the Yankees, he nearly disappeared, going 12-14 from 2009 through last season, when he was 1-2 with a 7.67 ERA in six starts with Toronto.
Now he is in the Reds camp as a non-roster invitee, quietly going about his work, mostly unnoticed by the media — definitely a reclamation project, a guy in camp on a look-see basis.
“He is an experienced veteran, so we won’t make too many early assumptions in camp,” said manager Bryan Price. “He had a lot of success on the front end of his Yankee career and has had to deal with a lot of injuries since.
“Maybe we as a staff we can see something to help him with his consistency,” he continued. “When you get up into your 30’s and you aren’t getting big-league hitters out, you have to try to find a way to re-create yourself. One thing that hasn’t gone away is the sink of his fastball. And he has a change and curve that are good pitches. He does have room to get better.”
Get up, Frazier: One of the many question marks that the Reds hope to straighten out into exclamation points is Todd Frazier, a defensive whiz last season but a offensive enigma — up and down en route to a .234 average with 19 homers, 73 RBI and 125 strikeouts in 531 at-bats.
“He is working hard, as he always does, on his overall game,” said Price. “He works hard on his defense and he knows that he is a better offensive player. He hopes to work through his struggles a little more quickly.
“His ebb and flow is like a lot of people — times where he is hot, times when he struggles and that’s the nature of baseball,” Price added. “One thing never changes with Todd and that’s his demeanor. That’s what gives everybody optimism that his ceiling is so much higher. He doesn’t have any ebb and flow of emotion. He always shows up with an optimistically aggressive attitude.”
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