The workout had ended more than an hour ago, but two guys were still on one of the practice fields Wednesday at the Reds spring training complex.
Jay Bruce, the student, and Barry Larkin, the teacher, were hard at work on the finer points of hitting. Larkin is in camp as a special assistant to the general manager and he was sharing some tips on hitting with the Reds right fielder, who has struggled at the plate the last couple of seasons (.217 battling average in 2014 and .226 in 2015).
Bruce was at the plate with a ball on a tee while the Hall of Fame shortstop was 10 feet away behind a screen throwing pitches. Bruce alternated hitting the pitch thrown and followed by hitting one to the opposite field with the ball on the tee. The pair was later joined by Eric Davis and the session lasted well into the afternoon with the Arizona sun baking down.
Larkin, who work for several years as a TV analyst for ESPN, was hired by the Reds in May as a minor league instructor. He seems better suited wearing a Reds uniform and frankly looks like he could still compete at the highest level.
Many believe Larkin would be an ideal big league manager, but Barry doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to climb that ladder. One of the many things he learned as a player was a second language. Larkin speaks fluent Spanish, which is a huge asset when working with Latin players.
Wednesday there was no problem. Larkin, Bruce and Davis were all fluent in the language of hitting.