Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price penciled right fielder Jay Bruce into the lineup for the 16th straight game Thursday against the Chicago Cubs. That’s what Bruce wants. He doesn’t want to rest unless the whole team has an off day.
Bruce and first baseman Joey Votto have not missed a game in the first three weeks. Bruce played in 157 of 162 games last season.
“My goal every year is to play every game,” Bruce said. “Honestly, in the years past, it’s been performance dependent. I needed a day off because I wasn’t playing well or whatever, but my goal every year is to play every day — absolutely.”
Bruce does plan to miss a game or two or three sometime soon. His wife Hannah is due to give birth to their first child, a boy named Carter John Bruce, any day now in Houston. She’s due Saturday.
“It’ll be awesome,” Bruce said. “I can’t wait.”
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As soon as he gets word, Bruce will take off for Texas. If that means leaving a game in progress, he will do that. In the meantime, his season continues. He has played in every game.
“Not that I’m not focused on the season and not that I’m not focused on my wife and the delivery and the birth and everything, but right now I’m just trying to keep the blinders on,” Bruce said. “I’m ready to go whenever the time comes. I also feel like I’m ready to play ball. I’m kind of on call right now.”
Through Wednesday, Bruce was hitting .293 and was tied with third baseman Eugenio Suarez for the team lead with four home runs. He led the team with 15 RBIs.
Bruce’s newborn son will be named after Bruce’s maternal grandfather, DeWitt Carter Stanford, of Cameron, Texas. He died in 2014 at 94. They took the middle name John from Hannah’s uncle.
Asked how he will handle being a baseball player and a dad, Bruce said, “I don’t know. Everybody’s different. It all just depends. It’s probably one of those deals where you learn as you go, but I’m ready for whatever. I have a blank canvas mindset. I have no expectations, so I look forward to whatever happens. That’s all I know right now.”