While the Reds were 62-1 when leading after eight innings, they were just 7-17 when tied after seven and 8-65 when they trailed after seven. They lost another eight games when leading after seven. The bullpen's 5.13 ERA was highest in the NL.That's why Weathers' easygoing acceptance of his new role meant a lot to Baker. "This guy wants to win, to me," Baker said. "Other than starting, he's done just about everything you can do. He seems like a tremendous team player to me. The rest of the guys, you can tell they kind of look up to him." Weathers appeared in the eighth inning of Friday's 5-1 Reds win over the Pirates. In a stunt planned before the outing, he emulated teammate Todd Coffey by sprinting out from the bullpen to the mound. It was a scoreless inning, but Weathers loaded the bases with a pair of two-out walks and a blooped single before escaping. In six appearances, totaling six innings this spring, he has a 3.00 ERA with six hits and two earned runs. By accepting the eighth-inning job, it doesn't mean that Weathers won't miss the ninth inning a little bit. Before last season, he had 27 saves combined over 2005-06, often in a closer-by-committee situation. But last year, the closer's job was his alone. "As the year went on last year, I really enjoyed that role," Weathers said. "This is a game that never stops changing. You've got to roll with the changes and put your best foot forward and do what you have to do to have a good year."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.