Barry Larkin on managing: 'Never say never'

Barry Larkin on managing

GOODYEAR, AZ (FOX19) - Barry Larkin didn't say no.

One of the best players in Reds history, Barry Larkin is at Reds spring training working with Major League players for the first time and answering questions whether he would manage in the future.

"Never say never," said a fully-uniformed Larkin. "If the opportunity presents itself, we'll see."

The Cincinnati native and key member of the 1990 World Series champion Reds, Larkin has experience serving as a manager after working in that role for the Brazilian national team in the World Baseball Classic. Larkin currently is a part-time roving minor league instructor with the Reds, but is working closely with big league players for the first time this spring.

"He talked to me about the situation of switch hitting," said Billy Hamilton. "Just mainly telling me, 'you have to have the same confidence on the left side that you do on the right side.' For that to come from him? That right there gave me a lot of confidence."

A twelve-time All-Star shortstop and 1995 MVP, Larkin played his entire 19-year career in his hometown. He's spent most of camp around the batting cages talking to players and has done one-on-one work with players like Jay Bruce after work-outs to maximize their ability.

The Reds are currently in what many are calling a re-building year or re-tooling season after trading away some of their biggest stars. Larkin believes this is part of the cycle that needs to happen to build a championship winning team.

"That's how you stay competitive," said Larkin. "A total rebuild - if you get rid of Joey (Votto), if you get rid of Jay (Bruce), if you get rid of Brandon (Phillips) - then we're in a total rebuild mode.

There's nothing wrong with having a lot of new faces - it doesn't mean we have to come in last place. There's a negative connotation that comes with rebuild. Rebuild means we're going to get our tails kicked, you know, we're just going to accept the fact that we're going to lose - no, let's accept the fact that we're going to be competitive, let's accept the fact that we're going to go out there and try and win ball games.

"Difference is if we go out there and we play and we get beat we can live with that, but if we go out there and lose - meaning, if we beat ourselves - that's unacceptable."

Larkin has done most of his coaching in the Reds minor leagues helping establish what he calls "the Reds way." He said part of the reason he's with the big league players is to help make sure that message is carried through the minors to the majors.

He's one of several members of the 1990 team - including Lou Piniella, Eric Davis, Billy Hatcher and Bill Doran - in camp to help instruct.

As for managing in the majors? Larkin left the door open.

"The conditions have to be right and, you know, the manager's job, at least in my opinion, is not about just having the manager's position. It's about having the support system to support that manager's position and, if that's the case, it's certainly something I would have interest in if that opportunity presented itself."

A Cincinnati native and member of the Reds for 19 seasons from 1986-2004, the 1995 National League Most Valuable Player Award-winning Larkin.

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