Commentary

Spring training position battles

A daily rundown of the MLB competitions for playing time in March and April

Updated: March 25, 2010, 4:46 PM ET
By Jason Catania, Charles Curtis and Doug Mittler | ESPN Insider

Cincinnati Reds: Center Field

Coming into spring, the Reds seemed ready to hand over the center-field reins to Drew Stubbs, but Chris Dickerson is doing all he can to keep Stubbs on his toes.

Stubbs, 25, a 2006 first-round draft pick, impressed as a rookie in limited time late last season, putting up eight home runs and 10 stolen bases in only 180 at-bats while also playing strong defense. Incidentally, Dickerson experienced a similar start to his career, which earned him a starting job in 2009 coming off a brief but noteworthy effort in 2008. Ultimately, though, the 27-year-old's output last year suffered from injuries and inconsistency.

If his spring performance counts for anything, Stubbs might be able to avoid a similar fate: He is hitting .297 with four HRs. But Dickerson is doing his part, too, hitting .371 and swiping four bases. What's more, Dusty Baker has given both players significant time in center this March.

The good news for these two is that the Reds' left-field job also is in flux, with Jonny Gomes, Laynce Nix and Wladimir Balentien competing. However, none of those three is considered an everyday outfielder, meaning there's a good chance Stubbs and Dickerson could get run in left, regardless of who wins the center-field gig.



To see more position battles -- including who's at the center of it all in Cincy, who'll be in at the back end of the Mets' and Cards' rotations, which oldie but goodie could make the Red Sox and more -- you must be an ESPN Insider.

Doug Mittler

Rumor Central