Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton: ‘Wall is undefeated’


WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Marlins at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

Michael Lorenzen and Tony Cingrani watched from the Cincinnati Reds bullpen as center fielder Billy Hamilton flew through the air and then into the fence. Their eyes grew wide in amazement, even though they see the same show almost every day.

Hamilton can track down almost any ball in the deepest reaches of Great American Ball Park. He does so at great risk to his health. On Monday in a 6-3 loss to the Miami Marlins, Hamilton crashed into the wall twice in the first three innings. He suffered a knee contusion and bruises on his side.

That’s why he left the game in the fifth inning and why he wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday.

“It’s my whole right side,” Hamilton said. “It’s nothing bad. It’s just the impact of hitting the wall. It’s my knee more than anything. I’ve hit the wall a couple of times, but this is the worst one yet. The wall is undefeated.”

Hamilton leads baseball with 51 stolen bases. Since his big-league debut in September 2013, he leads the major leagues with 177 stolen bases. His success rate is 81.9 percent. Dee Gordon of the Marlins ranks second in that time span with 139 stolen bases and a success rate of 76.4.

Hamilton planned to rest Tuesday and get treatment.

“The next couple of days could be better,” Hamilton said.

Manager Bryan Price has never asked Hamilton, who was on the disabled list with a concussion in June, to curtail his aggressiveness in the outfield.

“I have not told him not to run into the wall,” Price said. “I have not asked him to play more cautiously. I do believe his value when he wasn’t hitting was the fact that he could be a difference maker as a defender. The time might come where we have to say, ‘Look, we have to try to keep you on the field as much as possible.’

“However, a component of his game is his aggression, not just defensively but offensively. He’s diving into bases. When he was jamming his hands, should we instruct him to slide feet first and not ever slide head first? I think there are certain things if we remove them from his game, it’s going to remove from his value.”

The Reds were also without two other starters Tuesday.

• Second baseman Brandon Phillips wasn’t in the lineup for the second straight game after leaving Sunday’s game with a left knee contusion. Price said Phillips could play but likely would only be used in an emergency.

• Left fielder Adam Duvall didn’t start after fouling a ball off his foot Monday.

“We’ve been down this road before,” Price said. “The good news is it’s not anything that’s going to require any time on the disabled list.”

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