In a spring training that has seen a lot of injuries and just negative vibe from Reds’ fans, there is a positive that has come out of this. That would be the “road runner” speedster Billy Hamilton. The starting center fielder has had an outstanding spring, the team are counting on hin so much this season. Also new red, Roger Bernadinina has had a surprising good spring as well.
“He was terrific,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Hamilton.
Hamilton’s sensational play was overshadowed by a raw number of injuries. As the Reds end spring ball, they have six players, closer Aroldis Chapman, setup men Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton, Jack Hannahan and Skip Schumaker and No. 2 starter Mat Latos on the disabled last to start the season. There is a chance catcher Devin Mesoraco and right-hander Brett Marshall, the likely replacement for Latos, could end up there as well.
“There are just a lot of balls in the air right now,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I wish I could be more direct with you guys. But I think I’m being as direct as I can be. I really don’t know. I don’t know who’s going to be on this team.”
As bad as the injuries were, none of them were season ending and Latos could pitch as soon as 10 days into the season while the team’s core remains intact.
“It looks like we’ll have 80 percent of our starting rotation and the real challenge will be with our bullpen and just trying to get the right mix out there,” Price said. “We’re still running out some premium guys, some guys that are coming off of some great successes, especially with Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra and we’re still deciding on what we want to do with Alfredo Simon if he’s a better piece as a bullpen piece as opposed to a starter.
“We really only need a fifth starter on April 6th and then after that, we don’t need him again until the 15th or so. His value may be better served as a relief pitcher. We haven’t made that final decision yet. Considering not having Chapman, not having Marshall or Broxton to start the season, he could help influence that back end of those ballgames quite well. ( Simon will get the ball on April 6th.)
“Those are the challenges. I just don’t see where we can’t weather this storm. We have good players. Our starting lineup — with the question mark of Mesoraco our everyday lineup is intact. Our bench will still be strong, even minus Schumaker. We’ll weather the storm missing a couple of starts with Latos.”
The players remain confident that they will overcome this big hurdle to start the season.
“I really don’t want to minimize the injuries that the guys are going through or minimize their impact in general on the team at all,” first baseman Joey Votto said. “If we had one of those guys out, it would be a blow to our team. But I still think we’re going to play well. We’re prepared for the season. Injuries are prominent part of the game. Sometimes they happen at the beginning, sometimes they happen at end, sometimes they happen in the middle.”
Remain positive Reds’ fans, this team could surprise us and overcome this early season challenge that is upon them.