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Reds Don't Let Bruce Loose

June 8, 2005
By John Fay

CINCINNATI--Reds scouting director Terry Reynolds compares Jay Bruce's tools to those of Jim Edmonds.

That explains why the Reds made Bruce, an outfielder from Beaumont, Texas, the 12th pick in the draft.

Edmonds has been a noted Reds killer--at the plate and in the field--since he joined the Cardinals.

"He's a Jim Edmonds kind of guy," Reynolds said. "He (hits) left, (throws) left with similar tools."

Bruce likes the comparison.

"I hope one day I'm as good as Jim Edmonds," he said. "I love defense. It's a big part of my game. It's a great comparison."

Bruce is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. He hit .538-12-31 at West Brook High this year. He's signed with Tulane, but he sounds like he's ready to sign.

"I'm definitely signing," he said. "I'm getting out there and playing. First-round pick--you can't ask much more than that."

This marked the first time the Reds didn't take a pitcher with their first pick since 2000, when they chose high school shortstop David Espinosa.

"(Bruce) was the best athlete on the board for us," Reynolds said. "He's the guy we had targeted going into the day, and we weren't sure which teams in front of us were on him."

"It didn't get to a position player or pitcher, we just had this guy higher on the board than anybody else."

The Reds see Bruce playing center.

"He's a five-tool player, and they're kind of rare," Reynolds said. "He's a center fielder, and the only question is if he grows out of it size-wise."

Bruce was aware of the Reds' large Texas contingent of Adam Dunn, Jason LaRue, Ryan Wagner.

"They have a few Texas guys," he said, "so hopefully we can bring the Big Red Machine back."

RED HOTS

The Reds took a bit of a risk in the fourth round by selecting Texas righthander Sam LeCure. LeCure was supposed to be the Longhorns ace this year but academic concerns kept him off the field. "He has an excellent upside," general manager Dan O'Brien said.

Josh Holden, the West Point grad whom the Reds signed out of a tryout camp last year, has rejoined the organization. Holden is allowed to play professionally under a new Army program. He'll complete his military commitment in the offseason. Holden hit .348 for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League club last year. He'll probably go to Rookie-level Billings once he gets in baseball shape.

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