By Evan Brunell
Reds prospect Yonder Alonso finally has a position.
After being drafted as a first baseman, but looking at Joey Votto blocking him in the spot, then trying his hand in left field and even briefly appearing at third, the Reds have told Alonso to work on left field in preparation for 2012, MLB.com reports.
Alonso has struggled to find playing time in Cincinnati, although his bat has shown the Reds the talent it can have in the lineup by hitting .386/.449/.614 in 78 plate appearances with four homers. Complicating things for Alonso is that left field has been a position in flux all season long with seven players appearing at the position thus far. Chris Heisey, Dave Sappelt and Alonso are now sharing what Fred Lewis once manned, along with Jonny Gomes. Manager Dusty Baker has been loathe to play Alonso at the position due to his defense, which has cost the team two runs already according to Defensive Runs Saved, while Ultimate Zone Rating tells a horrendous story.
For Alonso to have a chance at overtaking Heisey or Sappelt for the starting job next season, he'll have to lose weight in an attempt to shore up his defense by improving his defense, which the team has requested of the 24-year-old.
“Definitely my body fat needs to go down to be an adequate left fielder,” Alonso said. “I will work my butt off in left field.”Alonso plans to work out with Cardinals center fielder John Jay, a fellow Hurricane from the University of Miami. The outfield instructor from Miami's baseball team will coordinate the workouts in order to drop 10-to-15 pounds from his current 230-pound frame.
“In the off-season, my plans are getting my body in check and work very hard to transform my body to play left field,” Alonso said. “Last year was more of a first base-left field type. It wasn’t 100 percent left field. This year is 100 percent left field. I hired a chef. I talked to a trainer already. I’m putting all of my efforts and stuff into my career and will make sure I am 100 percent ready to be the left fielder.”
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