Mark Reed: "I just wasn't ready"

MESA, Ariz. - Mark Reed's stay at Class-A Peoria had lasted only 14 games when the 2004 third round draft pick was sent to extended spring training on May 1. Throughout the spring, Reed's goal was to play for the Chiefs in 2005. And when fellow catcher Oscar Bernard was suspended 15 games for violating MLB's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Reed earned the opportunity to start the season in the Midwest League.

"I learned a lot at Peoria, and it was really good for me," Reed said, "but I just wasn't ready."

Reed, a graduate of St. Bonita High School in La Verne, Calif., admits Class-A baseball was a big step up for him.

"It was fun to play at stadiums in front of a lot of people," he said. "You have to work hard to get to the point where people pay to watch you play."

At Peoria, Reed batted a skinny .135 with six RBI, striking out 12 times and walking only once. He was given only 52 at-bats, and his only multi-hit performance was a two-hit showing against the Clinton LumberKings on April 14.

The rookie catcher knows that his poor batting average, coupled with Bernard's return, were ultimately the reasons he was sent back to Mesa.

"I was pulling the ball much more than I should have been," Reed said. "I don't know why that was. I know the Cubs planned for me to go there at the beginning of the season; then Oscar was finished with his suspension."

Reed was, however, happy with his defense and communication with the Chiefs' pitchers.

"I caught pretty well up there and threw some guys out," he said. "It was getting better."

The current plan is for Reed to stay in Mesa for three more weeks and then join the short-season Boise Hawks, managed this year by 44-year-old Trey Forkerway, skipper of the Mesa Cubs a year ago.

The 19-year-old Reed's confidence is still high following the demotion. He knows playing in Peoria was the first of many opportunities that will come his way as he strengthens his professional skills.

"I think the Cubs thought I was ready for (Peoria)," Reed said. "I thought I was ready, too, but the game has a way of beating you up a bit. I've now learned from what happened. For me, struggling up there could help me because of how young I am."

Lately Reed has been busy working on basic fundamentals and watching videos of his tenure in Peoria. The younger brother of Seattle's Jeremy Reed will try to get off to a fast start with Boise next month. If he does, he believes a promotion back to Peoria could be a possibility some time this summer.

"With all the injuries they've had, you have to take advantage of it," Reed said.

Scott Sabin is the Contributing Editor of Inside The Ivy. Write to Scott at scott@insidetheivy.com.


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