Sappelt Leaves Impression On Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz.—Nothing like hitting .564 in 39 at-bats near the end of camp to the get the attention of management.

Dave Sappelt, the diminutive, nonroster outfielder, pushed his chances of making the team from none to long shot, but in the end the Reds sent him to minor league camp.

"When they're young like that, you kind of want them playing every day," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "If he were here right now, he wouldn't be playing every day. He's still got some things to learn."

Sappelt is OK with that. He has a certain amount of confidence needed when you're 5-foot-9 (in spikes), 193 pounds, and a ninth-round pick out  of Coastal Carolina.

"I kind of felt, playing in the offseason and training hard, that this would happen," he said. "It's a small sample size. I have three at-bats a day. If I come in the second half of the game, it's going to be mostly against Double-A and Triple-A guys, which I feel like I can hit with no problem."

Sappelt, the Southern League's batting champion (.361) and MVP in 2010, spent last winter playing in the Venezuelan League.

"Down there, they have guys who throw hard and they have guys who throw a lot of breaking balls," Sappelt said. "That helped me, seeing the advanced pitchers. That was difference between Double-A and Triple-A—breaking balls. Going to Venezuela and doing well against that kind of pitching carried over."

But Baker has emphasized that you have to do more than hit to make it.

"There's baserunning," Baker said. "There's throwing. There's fielding. Things you don't get other than by playing somewhere."


• The young players participating in big league games have stood out. "Whether it's kids from Rookie ball or Triple-A, they've played well," general manager Walt Jocketty said.

• Infielder Ronald Torreyes, 18, is 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, but he doubled in his first big league spring training at-bat.