GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Roger Bernadina was born in Curacao, The Netherlands Antibes, and still lives there, but it is not appropriate to call him, "The Little Dutch Boy."
He is a big man at 6-foot-2 and 210 pound. He is soft-spoken, barely talks above a whisper, making him the poster boy for Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
The 29-year-old outfielder is in the Cincinnati Reds spring training camp as a free agent minor-league signee, but was invited to the big league camp.
And so far he is making the best and the most of it, trying to impress manager Bryan Price and general manager Walt Jocketty enough to wriggle his way onto the Opening Day roster.
Price has noticed. After a productive 2012 season with the Washington Nations, mostly off the bench, Bernadina nearly disappeared from the face of the baseball earth last year.
In 2012 he hit .291 in 129 games, but with only 261 plate appearances and had a .372 on-base average. He began last season with the Nationals and was hitting only .178 in 162 at-bats and was released. The Philadelphia Phillies signed him and he hit .187 in 83 plate appearances and then became a free agent.
"When you look at his numbers, he was really a prolific hitter in the minors at the high levels, Double-A and Triple-A," said Price. "He is a real nice player and there were times in Washington when I surprised he didn’t play more."
His full name is Rogerarvin Argelo Bernadina, "Just call me Roger," and he was signed in 2000 by the Montreal Expos when he was 17. It took him eight years to get to the majors and by then the Expos had moved to Washington.