Alonso Accelerates

Reds' first-round pick likely headed to Double-A




CINCINNATI—When the Reds signed Yonder Alonso to a $4.55 million big league contract out of the 2008 draft, the company line was that he could be in the majors by 2010.

Alonso's performance in Hawaii Winter Baseball showed that may not be wishful thinking. He hit .308/.419/.510 with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 29 games for the league champion Waikiki BeachBoys and made the postseason all-star team at first base.

"He swung the bat good the whole time he was there," farm director Terry Reynolds said. "That's a good sign."

Alonso, the seventh overall pick in June, did not sign until minutes before the Aug. 15 deadline. That limited him to six games for high Class A Sarasota, where he hit .316 in 19 at-bats.

But a successful stay in Hawaii has the Reds confident he may be able to start next year with the organization's new Double-A Carolina affiliate.

"Right now, the plan is from him to compete for a job with Carolina," Reynolds said. "If that doesn't work out, he'll be the first baseman in Sarasota. Those are the two spots we're looking at."

The Reds had talked about playing Alonso at third base as well as first, but that plan has been scrapped.

"I would doubt that he'll play any third," Reynolds said. "If he does, it will be out of necessity. He's a first baseman."

How Alonso's defense comes along will go a long way to determining when he arrives in the big leagues.

"That's the No. 1 thing he has to work on," Reynolds said, "just his mobility and movement around the bag. His bat has come around fairly quickly wherever he's been.

"I'm not saying that his defense is bad. I'm saying his bat is going come quickly."

RED HOTS

• The Reds signed Ben Davis, the No. 2 pick overall in 1995 draft. But Davis will try to make it as a pitcher, not a catcher. Davis hit .237 in 486 major league games, but he has not been in the big leagues since 2004. "He's coming in to compete for a job on the Double-A pitching staff," Reynolds said.

• The Reds broke ground on their new spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., where the club will move operations beginning in 2010. The Reds, who will share the Arizona complex with the Indians, will train in Sarasota in 2009.