Camp with Conine: More 40-year-olds than ever seem to be having productive big-league careers these days, and 40-year-old outfielder/first baseman Jeff Conine hopes to continue the trend.Is 40 the new 30 in baseball? "I wouldn't go that far," Conine said. "There are lot more guys playing later in their careers. The training techniques and the emphasis on weight training helps guys be in better shape later in their careers than they used to be." Conine, who was traded to the Reds from the Phillies for two Minor Leaguers in December, is playing the option year of his contract and making $2 million this season. A potential free agent at season's end, he didn't indicate how many more years he wanted to continue his career. "I'm just taking it year by year. We'll see this year," said Conine, who batted .268 with 10 homers and 66 RBIs with the Orioles and Phillies. "At the end, we'll evaluate." Conine appeared to be a quiet, all business guy in the clubhouse. In other words, he is definitely Narron's type of player. "He's a guy I've always admired and respected on the other clubs," Narron said. "You know he's going to go about his business the right way and he's going to be a true pro. I don't know even if he remembers, but a couple of years ago, I told him that as a baseball person, I appreciated the way he went about his business." Conine can play either corner outfield spot and first base, and he will be a right-handed pinch-hitter option off the bench for Narron. "He's a guy you know that if he's brought in to pinch-hit against a left-handed pitcher and they bring in a right-hander, he's going to give you a good at-bat," Narron said. "His numbers will show you he'll be as good either way." Hopper takes leave: Outfielder Hopper left camp after Friday's workout to travel to New Jersey. Hopper will attend the funeral for his grandmother, Arneta Turner, who passed away. Owner in town: Reds owner/chief executive officer Bob Castellini arrived in Sarasota on Friday and made his first appearance at Spring Training. Seen and heard: Before Friday's workout, Reds players took part in the annual photo day activities. Baseball card companies, still photo media outlets and the Reds' scoreboard staff took turns snapping pictures of all 56 players in camp and the coaching staff. Saturday's workout will be abbreviated so players can attend the annual Reds Rally at 12 p.m. ET in downtown Sarasota.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less