GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Bryan Price sat down in the cushy chair. In front of him was a desk. Behind him, two lockers of his very own. The first-time Cincinnati Reds manager felt a little out of place in his own office.
Time to start getting used to it.
The Reds open spring training on Friday when pitchers and catchers report and have their first workout. Price will be front-and-center, a new role for the former pitching coach who took over when Dusty Baker was fired after another playoff disappointment.
"I told the guys in our (staff) meeting, 'You better make sure you come in here and keep me company,'" Price said on Thursday afternoon. "I'm not used to being in a room by myself, unless I'm in the doghouse. Been there a few times."
And he will be again once the games begin and one of his moves backfires. Ask Baker about that one.
Baker got fired after leading the Reds to the playoffs for the third time in four years. They lost to Pittsburgh in the wild card game, the third time they were knocked out in the opening round. The postseason fizzle cost Baker his job and gave Price the chance to manage a team with plenty of talent to contend.
He knows the team will be judged not on whether it reaches the playoffs, but whether it wins when it gets there. Just like the Bengals, who have lost their opening playoff game each of the last three seasons, the Reds aren't going to get a final grade until well after the regular season has ended.
Price isn't going to dwell on it with his players.
"For me, the references — if any — will be very short in discussing the past," he said. "There's nothing we can do about it. I've inherited a phenomenal group of guys that really want to play this game beyond where we've been."
The Reds are in good shape as they get started.
The pitching staff is mostly healthy. Reliever Jonathan Broxton had surgery to repair a tear in his forearm last August and has been making good progress in his throwing program during the offseason. He's the only one who may not be fully ready for opening day.