GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Every team needs a player who cares not about his personal numbers and loves it when he finishes a game with a dirty uniform and the knees of his pants ripped open.
If the manager says, "Go up there and get hit by a pitch," he goes up there and sticks his elbow in harm’s way.
With the Cincinnati Reds, that guy is Skip Schumaker. He is the kind of down-and-dirty player who was despised by the Reds when he played for the St. Louis Cardinals but is a guy a team loves on its side.
When Reds manager Bryan Price was asked about a player who has grabbed his attention this spring he quickly said, "Skip Schumaker," whom the Reds signed as a free agent to a two-year contract.
And he is talking about a role player, a guy who will play some outfield, play a little second base and do a lot of pinch-hitting.
"I enjoy every minute of watching Skip Schumaker play," said Price. "His defense, his defensive positioning, his movement in the outfield, his talk, his communication on the infield."
Even a routine single in a game this week grabbed Price’s attention, "A base hit he got off Paco Rodriguez (Los Angeles Dodgers). It was back through the middle and he hung in there against a tough lefty."
Schumaker stands tall on a baseball field even though he is only 5-10 and a muscle-packed 195 pounds.
"He is just a tough kid whom I really enjoy watching, but that’s not really a surprise to me," said Price.