Five questions with Yonder Alonso

CINCINNATI -- Former Miami Hurricane Yonder Alonso has captured the attention of Reds fans since the day the team made him its top draft pick and the seventh overall selection in the June 2008 draft.

A native of Havana, Cuba, he moved to the United States with his parents and sister when he was 10. After an impressive college career at the University of Miami, he hit .295 or better at all but two of the six stops he made in the Reds' farm system on his way to Cincinnati.

After hitting .207 in 22 games with the Reds last September, he spent most of this season with Triple-A Louisville and batted .296 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in 91 games. That created a clamor for his promotion that was answered when the Reds traded Jonny Gomes to Washington on July 26.

While the Reds were trying to figure out where to play him, Alonso hit .346 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 40 games. He made himself at home with the Reds but might have felt a little uncomfortable being in Ohio State country while the Buckeyes were losing in football to the Hurricanes last Saturday. He talked about that as well as baseball with The Enquirer.

Question: Being a former Hurricane, are you inclined to gloat a little bit about the game on Saturday night?
Answer: Let's just say I was very happy, but yet, a little bit weirded out because my Twitter account went off because of people very upset about the game. At the end of the day, it's just a game, so you just have to kind of live by it and enjoy it as much as possible and just move on from it. But yeah, I was very excited about it.

Q: Florida's a big football state. Did you ever play that sport?
A: No, I never played. My dad never let me play football. He was really big on baseball. I remember I played basketball one year. That was it for me - just baseball (and) basketball. Here and there I would play flag football, and I would play with my friends in the street, but never anything organized.

Q: What was the biggest guilty pleasure you indulged in with your bonus money from your baseball contract?
A: I didn't really get myself anything, other than I got myself a car. I got a Mercedes S550. It comes a long way from having a green Explorer - not very good, not in good shape, no air conditioning. That was pretty neat.

Q: What model bat do you use?
A: I use a Louisville Slugger I-13 - 34-inch, 32-ounce maple. I've never really had a model, but ever since I got to Triple-A all the guys were using it. I remember one player was like, "Hey once you use this bat, you'll never go back to anything else." I used it one time, I went 3-for-4 with two home runs, and that was it.

Q: Have you ever been back to Cuba or do you have a desire to go?
A: I went back when I was really young, 12-13 years old - went for a couple of days. That was about it. Do I have any desire to go back? I'll tell you this - if there was ever any winter ball played there in Cuba, I would love to go. I think that would be great for the country and great for the fans and great for the people there. I would love to be a part of that - definitely.

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