Reds’ legends open camp

VIENNA — Micah Atkinson is looking forward to working on his pitching this week at the silver edition of the Cincinnati Reds Legends Clinic.

“I don’t have much control of my fastball,” said the 12-year-old, who plays for the Blue Jays in Vienna. “So, I’m a slow pitcher.”

Atkinson, who will be making his sixth appearance at the Reds Legends event, said he’s also a shortstop and second baseman.

“I can play anywhere,” he said.

The annual 3-day youth baseball and softball camp got underway Monday morning at the Vienna Rec Fields in Jackson Memorial Park. Bronson Arroyo, the featured Reds instructor, is scheduled to be on hand Tuesday.

Atkinson and his fellow campers figure to learn a lot about throwing as Arroyo is a former MLB pitcher.

Other ex-Reds providing station instruction Monday morning were Leo “Chico” Cardenas (infield), Herm Winningham (bunting), and Keith Brown (pitching).

Jim Fox, a Marietta College softball coach this past spring, helped out with the girls on the softball portion of the camp.

“We have about 125 kids here, and we’re sold out,” said Mike Wagner, the Reds Legends Clinic director. “I’m a little concerned about the heat, but we’ll have extra water and ice here — and hopefully wrap everything up by 1:30 p.m. each day.”

That’ll probably suit 17-year-old AJ Jones of Marietta just fine.

“I got rapid bone growth in my knees,” said Jones, who will be a Warren senior next school semester. “It’s really hard to play through, especially being a catcher.”

Jones got around and ran the bases just fine on the opening day of the clinic.

“I played for Warren for two years but then my knees got unbearable,” he said.

Jones said that he’d been coming to the Legends camp “for years.”

“You know, at the time the Reds were my third favorite team,” he said, smiling. “The Oakland A’s were my first and then the Chicago Cubs. But now, it’s the Reds.

“Brandon Phillips is my favorite player. He’s always making those diving catches (but not for the Reds anymore).”

Atkinson said he’s a big Reds fan. But it’s not unanimous in his family.

“My dad (Eddie Atkinson) is a Pirates fan and I don’t think my mom (Michelle) watches baseball,” the younger Atkinson said.