GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - Outfielder Jay Bruce figured that losing 16 pounds would help him get through the season. He's looking a little quicker already.
Bruce and Joey Votto each drove in a pair of runs off Justin Masterson, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 12-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday. Bruce singled, doubled and walked in three plate appearances.
``When your body changes, you have to adjust,' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ``He should be quicker getting to the ball because he has less (weight) to move.'
Bruce hit 33 home runs last year, but wants to improve defensively and be quicker on the bases. So, he changed his offseason diet and conditioning program.
``I thought taking weight off would make me quicker, and 16 less pounds on my joints will help me during the long season,' Bruce said.
The Reds roughed up Masterson, who is scheduled to start Cleveland's season opener. He retired only four batters, allowing six runs on five hits and three walks.
Masterson started slowly in spring training last year, but matched Josh Tomlin for the team lead with 12 wins and pitched a career-high 216 innings. He appears to have recovered from surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder.
``It was good to get my feet wet and face some hitters,' said Masterson, who was pleased with how he felt. ``I'm at the exact same spot I'm in every spring training, so it's perfect.'
Manager Manny Acta wasn't concerned by Masterson's first showing.
``Spring training is for the guys that have already made the team (to) get ready for the season,' Acta said.
Michael Brantley, who is moving to center field to replace the injured Grady Sizemore, opened the game with a triple. He also doubled off Mike Leake in the exhibition opener on Saturday.
Derek Lowe, acquired from Atlanta in a trade on Oct. 31, pitched two scoreless innings in his first appearance for the Indians. Lowe is slated to start at the back end of the Indians rotation.
``He is on a mission to show that he has some baseball left in him,' Acta said. "He had a rough last month of the season and got away from his sinker a little bit. He's gotten a lot of ground balls so far. It looks like his sinker is back.'
Johnny Cueto, who has been picked to start opening day for the Reds, pitched two innings and gave up one run, allowing two hits without a walk. Cueto missed the first month of last season because of a sore shoulder. He strained a muscle in his right side and didn't pitch after September 14.
``I am trying to stay healthy,' Cueto said. ``I am doing some extra work because I missed a month of the offseason. I am doing more than I'm required to do to make up for it.'
The results of his first inning indicated the work is paying off.
``Johnny looked good,' Baker said. ``He kept the ball down.'
Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer off Reds reliever Sam LeCure in the sixth. Cleveland's Dan Wheeler gave up four hits and four runs in the sixth, including Corky Miller's two-run homer.
Notes: Cleveland's Roberto Hernandez Heredia, who went by the name of Fausto Carmona, threw an inning at the Indians' baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. He was arrested in the Dominican in January and charged with falsifying his name and age - he's 31 instead of 28. He can't leave the Dominican until his case is settled. ``We are waiting for him to be cleared,' Acta said. ``We gave him a program to work on down there.' ... Reds INF Juan Francisco has been bothered by a strained right calf suffered in the winter leagues. He will get his first at-bat on Tuesday as a designated hitter. ``He got his body ready but he has to be game ready. He hasn't had live batting practice or anything like the rest of the guys,' Baker said.
The Associated Press News Service
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