You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Hamilton gets first start, but Reds get shutout


Sure, it’s only February and the games are of little consequence, but something significant did happen prior to Sunday’s finale of a three-game spring training set with the Indians, a game Cleveland won by a 3-0 score.

Atop names like Phillips, Votto, Ludwick and Bruce on the lineup card posted inside the door of the Reds’ locker room was something management hopes to see more of in the future:

Hamilton, 8.

That marked phenom Billy Hamilton’s debut as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, a role he isn’t likely to see much of this year with veteran Shin-Soo Choo on the roster. But the organization’s top prospect and the greatest single-season base-stealer in the history of the minor leagues weighs heavily in the team’s future plans, even if most expect he’ll start this year in Triple-A.

The man who swiped an incredible 155 bases last year between Single-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola was excited to get the starting nod.

“I’d been watching these guys for the past few days, watching what they do,” said Hamilton, who struck out in the first, then nearly beat out a routine grounder to short in the third. “This was a big day, just being in the lineup with most of the guys who are gonna be in the big leagues. It’s fun.”

Manager Dusty Baker has insisted there’s no room for Hamilton in the Reds outfield assuming that Choo, Ludwick, Bruce and Chris Heisey will be available for duty once the season starts.

Hamilton said he’s not worried about the timeline. After becoming the only two-time winner of the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award as the team’s minor leaguer of the year, the 22-year-old said he’s been watching starters like Choo closely, picking up pointers along the way.

“All these guys have been treating me really well and I’ve been trying to learn from them,” Hamilton said. “Of course, they’ve been talking about the stolen bases and how unreal it is. But there’s not a rush for me. As long as I can get out here, play my game, have some fun and not worry about being scared or nervous around those guys.”

Arizona’s Windy City?: With four summers as manager at Wrigley Field on his resume, Baker is well aware of the havoc wind can wreak on a baseball field.

But even Baker was surprised by the gusts that made Sunday morning’s workout a challenge. The flags at Goodyear Ballpark were blowing out hard to right field, and tumbleweeds rolled along on nearby Estrella Parkway.

Baker said the winds woke him on Saturday night as he thought a rain storm had rolled through town, but added that the unusual conditions can only help his team get ready for the regular season.

“The one element that most players don’t like is the wind,” Baker said. “They can take cold, they can take heat, but that wind, boy. There’s very little preparation for the wind. You get in places like San Francisco, New York sometimes, Chicago most of the time, you’ve got to try to prepare for the wind.”

Hamilton agreed, and as he continues a transition from shortstop to center field, he said any practice will help. Hamilton made a nice catch in the first inning on a liner off the bat of former Cincinnati outfielder Drew Stubbs, making what could’ve been a difficult play look routine.

“It’s something I’ve got to adjust to. You’ve got to get used to it. You never know what it’s going to be like during the season,” Hamilton said of the wind. “It’s good for me to learn. I’d rather make a mistake now than make one in the season.”

Notes: In his Indians’ debut, Daisuke Matsuzaka held the Reds hitless in two frames, surrendering only a single walk to Joey Votto. The expected media blitz surrounding Dice-K was tempered because Cleveland played a split-squad game, and manager Terry Francona accompanied the other team to a meeting with the Brewers in Maryvale. … The Reds will send right-handed reclamation project Armando Gallaraga to the hill to start against the Brewers today (3:05 p.m. EST). Gallaraga is best known for having the near-perfect game while with the Detroit Tigers in 2010, but subsequently struggled in single seasons with both Arizona and Houston. Relievers Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton are also scheduled to pitch for Cincinnati. … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Neftali Soto’s four-hit showing on Saturday was just the third time a Reds player has turned that trick in the last seven spring trainings. Brandon Phillips did so in 2012 against the Cubs while Chris Dickerson had four hits against Oakland back in 2010.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

H.S Results for 3/28: Covington plows through Mississinawa Valley

In an absolute stunner of a game, the Covington Varisty softball team beat Mississinawa Valley by a whopping 20 runs, winning 22-2. Kenzie Long drove in five runs on three hits in the win for Covington. Makenna Gostomsky, Lexie Long, Emma Daymer, Ashley Cecil and Justice Warner all amassed hits throughout the course of the game, each contributing to...
Anthony Grant among candidates for Dayton Flyers job
Anthony Grant among candidates for Dayton Flyers job

Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Anthony Grant, a former Dayton Flyer, is a candidate for the Dayton head coaching job, a source told WHIO’s John Bedell on Tuesday. Grant, 50, was a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth (2006-09, 76-25) and Alabama (2009-15, 117-85) earlier in his career. He was an assistant coach under current Thunder head...
Hartman: Charlie Sheen tweets that Reds ‘Rookie’ is a winner
Hartman: Charlie Sheen tweets that Reds ‘Rookie’ is a winner

If you haven’t heard of Rookie Davis yet, we’ll just have to let Cincinnati Reds fanatic Charlie Sheen introduce you. Not long before Sheen’s tweet, Davis shared that he was excited to tell his family he would be breaking camp with the Reds after spending the spring in a battle with several youngsters for a spot in the roster. Davis...
Cincinnati Reds set Opening Day roster — sort of
Cincinnati Reds set Opening Day roster — sort of

The Cincinnati Reds roster is being finalized in pieces, mostly by subtraction, yet one key spot on the bench was filled by addition. The starting rotation has been set — sort of. Veteran Bronson Arroyo is penciled in for his first start on April 8 in St. Louis. However, the Reds want him to pitch pain free and successfully in Arizona on Sunday...
Top returning MBC baseball hitters
Top returning MBC baseball hitters

The top returning Metro Buckeye Conference high school baseball hitters, according to 2016 conference stats: 1. Tony Marinelli, jr., Yellow Springs: 15 of 31 (.484). 2. Joseph Hardy, sr., Dayton Christian: 24 of 53 (.453); 19 runs, 20 RBI’s, 11 SB. 3. Ashton Burke, jr., Xenia Legacy Christian: 23 of 52 (.442); 18 runs, 9 RBI’s, 13 SB. 4...
More Stories