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Gennett rolls into Reds camp in RV

Second baseman starting spring with arbitration hearing, number change
MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Some Major League players like to roll into Spring Training with a fancy new car, but Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett's route to camp came in an entirely different vehicle.

Gennett and his family rented an RV for the drive to Goodyear from his home in Sarasota, Fla. An early arrival ahead of Sunday's full-squad report date, Gennett said on Tuesday that it took him 32 hours to make the trip.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Some Major League players like to roll into Spring Training with a fancy new car, but Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett's route to camp came in an entirely different vehicle.

Gennett and his family rented an RV for the drive to Goodyear from his home in Sarasota, Fla. An early arrival ahead of Sunday's full-squad report date, Gennett said on Tuesday that it took him 32 hours to make the trip.

"It might have to be a Spring Training deal every year," said Gennett, who got the RV so he could bring his dog, Leo, to Arizona.

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Gennett didn't find driving the RV to be much of an adjustment, including the difficulty of trying to back it into reverse or parking.

"You're supposed to get assistance, but I must have truck driving in my blood," he said.

The RV will not be a permanent presence at the Reds' Player Development complex, however.

"We've got it for a few more days. I'm not going to keep it in Mr. Castellini's parking spot for too much longer," Gennett joked, referring to Reds CEO Bob Castellini.

Video: Outlook: Gennett trying to repeat breakout season

On the serious side, Gennett and the club have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday in Arizona.

Gennett filed for $5.7 million while the club countered at $5.1 million. In the hallway outside of the clubhouse, he and general manager Dick Williams could be seen talking to one another. There appear to be no hard feelings.

"Arbitration is tough, not only for the player but for them as well," Gennett said. "But our conversation was, 'Hey, no matter how it goes or what's said in there, it's not a reflection of what we actually think of you. It's just a numbers-type thing.' Which I understand. If I go in and hear that I can't hit lefties or play every day, those are things I've heard all of my life. It's not going to be anything I haven't heard before. I just told him not to worry about it. It's business, nothing personal."

In recent years, the Reds have gone to a "file-and-trial" system where they will automatically go to a hearing with a player once salary numbers are formally exchanged. That happened with both Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez. On Feb. 6, the club won its case against Suarez.

"You'd rather not go through it," Gennett said. "Growing as a big leaguer, I've learned you can't just accept everything because it affects everybody behind you. It's not just about me. If I signed a crappy deal, then it's going to affect every other second baseman in the league that wants a deal. It's not a selfish thing. It's kind of the opposite."

Video: STL@CIN: Statcast™ analyzes Gennett's four-homer game

One change Gennett is making for the new season will be on the back of his Reds jersey. He switched from No. 4 to No. 3. No. 4 was the only number available to Gennett at the end of camp last year, when he was acquired as a waiver claim. Its former owner, ex-Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, complained about it being given away, but that had nothing to do with the change.

"It's my favorite number," Gennett said of No. 3. "I was a big Dale Earnhardt fan when I was younger, still am. I didn't really like No. 4. I had the four home runs [in one game] and all of that. I think three homers a game wouldn't be too bad."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Scooter Gennett