The Reds did their due diligence before signing Hairston to a non-guaranteed deal. According to reports, he would receive $500,000 if he's on the Major League roster."We were aware that he was on the Mitchell list," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "We got all the answers we needed to hear and felt good about signing him. Period." And Hairston felt good about picking Cincinnati in large part because of Reds manager Dusty Baker. In between Baltimore and Texas, Hairston had a stop in Chicago with the Cubs from 2005-06, when Baker was the dugout boss. Playing for Baker again seemed to fit like a hand sliding into a soft pair of Isotoners for Hairston. "That had a big part of it," said Hairston, who signed with the Reds the same day as former Cubs outfielder Corey Patterson. "Being with Dusty in Chicago and knowing his managerial style and how he uses all 25 guys, that's pretty big." Hairston started out his career as second baseman, but he has since diversified his resume. He can play shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots. With utility infielder Jeff Keppinger on the inside track to be the starting shortstop in place of the injured Alex Gonzalez, that could open another spot on the bench for a player like Hairston. "I wanted to play for a National League team, especially where I'm at this point of my career," Hairston said. "I'm more of an NL-style player, playing every position, and I can run and do a lot of things." Since arriving at camp on Wednesday, Hairston has quickly immersed himself into hitting in live batting-practice conditions and taking grounders. He must play catch-up before he can play in any games. "I'm in good condition, physically," Hairston said. "I'm in great shape and ready. As far as the baseball stuff, it'll obviously take a couple of days."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.