They aren’t sure where Yonder Alonso will play defensively, using the natural first baseman in left field and at third base because of Joey Votto’s presence, but the Reds are certain the 24-year-old former first-round pick needs to lose some weight wherever he winds up.
Alonso, who’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 241 pounds, told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s already hired a personal chief with an eye on changing his offseason routine:
It’s going to be an offseason where I’m going to do a lot of things differently. I’m going to get faster. My offseason workout regiment is going to be very different. A lot more running. It’s going to be a left fielder-type attitude coming into the offseason. I’m very excited. We’ll go from there.
Dusty Baker told Fay that the Reds haven’t decided on a specific number of pounds they want Alonso to lose, but the idea is clearly to find out if he’s capable of being the long-term answer in left field.
Prior to being called up most people who’d seen Alonso regularly in the minors had serious doubts about his ability to handle any position but first base and he’s made multiple miscues in left field while posting some hideous numbers in what’s admittedly a small sample size. However, if the goal is for Alonso to simply go from “horrendous” to merely “bad” defensively the combination of dropping 15-20 pounds and gaining more experience in the outfield could do the trick.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.