Donald Lutz crosses home plate after a home run earlier this spring
Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked who in camp has impressed him most. The name at the top of that list was 24 year old outfielder Donald Lutz (along with Chad Rogers and Drew Hayes). "Big Lutz is one of the guys I liked last year" Said Baker, "Lutz' is not afraid or intimidated by anybody". By now you probably know the story of Donald Lutz. He was born in New York but moved to Germany at age 1 and still calls Germany home. He grew up playing hockey and European handball and didn't start playing baseball until he was 16. By the time he was 17 he was good enough to be invited to the annual European baseball academy in Italy. That academy is where Lutz first crossed paths with the likes of Barry larkin and Rod Carew. He also caught the eye of scouts and was quickly signed by the Reds and by 2008 was in the United States.
Besides having the raw talent, Lutz is dedicated to learning as much about his craft as he can. "I remember I gave him some hitting books to study (last season) that I had for 30 years and a couple other books" said Baker, "and I had to send for them in May and June. Either he's a slow reader or he was studying, I like that. He's like a sponge which is kind of refreshing."
At the plate this spring, Lutz is hitting .353 with a home run and 5 rbi.
Dusty Baker loves how the ball comes off his bat "he hit a ball as hard the other day, it reminded me of Willie Stargell." The Reds manager was asked what he needs to do to get ready for the big leagues, "just play. He's very inexperienced but he's come along very quickly for a guy who hasn't played much." His progressed was slowed a bit last season when he missed a month because of a strained oblique. "He'll elevated pretty quickly because he has great aptitude, likes to compete, and he works hard. There's going to come a time when he'll put pressure on the organization to do something, which is good."
with Joey Votto signed to a long term deal Lutz has had to learn to play the outfield. He has lost weight and so far has done pretty well. He may not be a gold glover but that's something Baker is not overly concerned about, "you know how I love defense but it's getting harder and harder to find bats." He then went on to explain what his old roommate once said, "shake a baseball tree and about a hundred gloves will fall out and about two bats." Donald Lutz is one of those bats and it shouldn't be long before he's wearing a Reds uniform.
The Dangers of Training in Arizona
Milwaukee Brewers GM Dough Melvin spent 3 hours in a hospital Wednesday night after be stung by a scorpion. He tried to squish it like you with any other bug but the scorpion stung him right through the kleenex he was using. The Arizona bark scorpion is one of 80 spieces in the state but the only one considered lethal.
Shots of Spring Trianing
The Reds were off yesterday so it's a good time to take a look at some of the things you come across at spring training.
The legendary Bernie Stowe now in his 67th year with the Reds works on
get the spikes clean up after practice.
Todd Frazier prepares to take extra BP after a recent workout
It's the big leagues but players still carry their equipment out to the
field for workouts and games.
a bag of baseballs awaits batting practice