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Everything Revolves Around Defense For Dusty Baker And The Reds

Baker Defense has been a point of emphasis with Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker. So much so, that when they signed Edgar Renteria both Jocketty and Baker called Paul Janish to let him know he was their short-stop.

Janish, not known for his offense, plays great defense. Baker believes he can be part of the offense by being a great defensive player and reminds people that Dave Concepcion was not a polished, finished product when he first came up.

"Davey was a skinny, little kid that got bigger and stronger and better. He hit around .200. If that happened now, they'd be ready to lynch everybody," said Baker.

While Red's fans seem to understand Baker's emphasis of defense, John Fay/ does not.

Yesterday in his article "Coming up short at short, Fay felt "It may be time to give Miguel Cairo a start or two there," even though Baker had said that wasn't an option.

Fay suggested the other alternative would have been to put Todd Frazier out there for a couple of games.

Fay has covered the Reds long enough to know that Cairo or Frazier cannot produce enough offense to off-set the decline in defense. He should let the words of Reds third baseman Scott Rolen serve as a good reminder.

"For us, it's (defense) paramount. Defense is as close to a controllable part of the game as we have. We're a good defensive team. We have to play good defense," said Rolen.



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