With fireworks exploding overhead and high-fives slapping all around him after the Cincinnati Reds had rallied for a 6-2 Opening Day victory against Philadelphia, reserve outfielder Tyler Holt had a direct message for manager Bryan Price.
“He said, ‘I told you I should be on this team,’ ” Price said. “I said, ‘You’re right. You don’t have to tell me twice.’ ”
Holt, who was optioned to Triple-A Louisville the final week of spring training before being recalled to fill the final spot on the Opening Day roster, had just sparked a rally in the eighth and snuffed one in the ninth.
He entered the game as a pinch-runner after Adam Duvall drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and eventually sped home with the tying run on Zack Cozart’s shallow sacrifice fly to right.
After the Reds tacked on four more runs, Holt made a diving catch near the wall in left field for the first out of the ninth.
“He just epitomized exactly why he’s on the team,” right fielder Jay Bruce said. “I think you can expect stuff like that him for the rest of the year.”
Asked if he heard Holt’s comment to Price, Bruce laughed and said he did.
“He’s a firecracker. He really is,” Bruce said. “He’s someone that could change the complexion of a team. He’s a guy who brings some energy, some fire and some brashness about him. I think that’s good.”
One hitter after Holt’s brush with the wall, Billy Hamilton made a diving catch in right-center for the second out.
Asked whose catch was better, Hamilton didn’t hesitate.
“I’d have to give it to Holt,” he said. “It’s tough playing left field when you get those balls fading away from you. It’s just the thought process of giving it your all and running close to the wall and diving like that. A bunch of people wouldn’t take that risk.”
Holt said he would never consider not taking it.
“I don’t play like that,” he said. “I was not really worried about it. It’s been a whirlwind few days, and I was like ‘if you crash into the wall, you crash into the wall.’ I just let my instincts take over and luckily enough I didn’t hit the wall.”
As for his brash comment to Price:
“I was just running on emotion,” he said. “I’m just glad to be here, and when my number’s called, that’s what you should expect.”