Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez looked across the diamond Tuesday and saw familiar colors. The Detroit Tigers, Suarez’s first team, visited Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2015.
Three years ago, Suarez was still a prospect in many ways. Although he debuted with the Tigers in 2014 and played 85 games, he began the 2015 season in Triple-A Louisville after the Reds acquired him in December 2014 in a trade that sent pitcher Alfredo Simon to Detroit.
The Reds haven’t made out well in a number of trades in recent years, but the Suarez deal was one of their best. In his fifth season with the Reds, Suarez is playing like an all-star. He’s unlikely to earn a starting nod as he ranks fourth in voting, but he could make the team as a manager’s selection.
“I don’t really think about it,” Suarez said. “I just think about helping my team. Sometimes when I see the board and I see my name on it, I feel like this is my opportunity. I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’ll be there. I hope and pray to God because I think everybody wants to be in the All-Star Game, and if this is my opportunity, I will take it.”
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Suarez is hitting .297, 37 points better than last season. He has 14 home runs, meaning he’s more than halfway to the career high of 26 he hit last season. His .384 on-base percentage would also be a career best.
However, it’s the RBI numbers that make Suarez stand out. He ranks second in the National League with 52 despite missing 16 games in April with a fractured thumb.
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“He’s just a good hitter,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “When you go up to the plate four or five times a day on a daily basis and you’re talented, you’re going to get some RBI opportunities, and he doesn’t shy away from those at all. I think he’s gotten big hits for us when nobody’s on, but when there are men on, he relishes that opportunity to drive in a run. He’s done it with the homer quite often, but he’s gotten some big hits to sustain rallies. Why he does it better than others, I don’t know. I think it’s his growth as a player. Each year, he’s had a few more RBIs than the previous year. That’s just kind of the trajectory of his career.”
Notes: The Cincinnati Bengals’ No. 1 draft pick, center, Billy Price, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday before a game against the Chicago Cubs. … The Reds will meet with Homer Bailey on Wednesday to determine the next step in his rehab. He’s been on the disabled list since June 2 with right knee inflammation.