Reds go with familiar lineup for Cactus League opener

The lineup the Reds used in Friday’s Cactus League opener against the Cleveland Indians could be one they use during the season.

It featured Billy Hamilton leading off and playing center field. Eugenio Suarez played third base and batted second followed by Joey Votto at first, Scooter Gennett at second, Adam Duvall in left field, Scott Schebler in right, Jose Peraza at shortstop and Tucker Barnhart catching. Dilson Herrera served as the designated hitter.


» Finnegan confident he’ll return to form

» Reds minor-leaguer suspended 50 games

» Barnhart treasures Gold Glove, seeks repeat

» Ex-Dragon Mahle ready for run at rotation

“There is going to be a lot of moving pieces with this group,” manager Bryan Price said. “I like having Suarez in the two hole as a high on-base percentage guy with some thump. He is a guy to set the table with Billy or whoever I have in the leadoff spot, for Joey, the three, four and five slots. Suarez is also a run-producer and he can provide some good protection for Joey.”

And where does Jesse Winker fit in the picture? Price sees him as a semi-regular, planning to use him at the corner outfield spots, including when Hamilton takes a day off and Schebler shifts to center.

It sounds like Winker’s immediate future might hinge at least a bit on whether Hamilton can improve his on-base percentage.

“We’re still looking to see the evolution of Billy as the leadoff man,” Price said. “I’d love him to hold down that spot. I’d hate to think these guys stopped improving. I expect to see growth as a player. Guys that have had some time at the big-league level should be hunting to get better. Getting on base is a key component of hitting at the top of the lineup.”

Winker reached base at a .375 clip in his 47 games last season with the Reds and had a .395 on-base percentage in 85 games at Triple-A Louisville.


»RELATED: Reds changing plans for top prospect?

»RELATED: Reds open spring training with hope for solid rotation

»RELATED: Reds give Castillo rotation spot, now it’s up to him

“Winker will get some opportunities to hit at the top of the order,” Price said. “We have four healthy outfielders who I’d like to see play. There would be five-plus starts a week if they share playing time. I really see four outfielders for three spots, all getting regular time.”

Even National League teams use the DH during the spring, and that opens up more at-bats. Herrera, who handled the task Friday, is out of options. He is competing at second base but has taken ground balls at third.

“He will go every other day early on, like DH, then second base,” Price said. “Tomorrow I have him penciled in at second unless there is a reason to make that change. We are still in protocols where he has heavy days of throwing and some days off. He has made the long throw from third base. He will get some time there in the spring that will add to his value.”

Herrera was mostly inactive last spring with a sore right shoulder and had surgery in early August. He missed the last two months of the season.

Rotation set: Sal Romano took the ball Friday against the Indians. Michael Lorenzen starts Saturday against Colorado with Luis Castillo scheduled to face the White Sox on the road.

Homer Bailey will work the home game against Cleveland on Sunday, Robert Stephenson is slated for Arizona on Monday, and Anthony DeSclafani is penciled in for Tuesday at Milwaukee.

“Rob (Stephenson) had a bit of a neck issue,” Price said. “He is more of a TBA on Monday.”

Brandon Finnegan was not named on the list of pitchers through Monday but may follow DeSclafani on Tuesday.

Not so fast: Price and Indians manager Terry Francona heard the same thing from Joe Torre about the mandatory 10th inning in spring training games, but now there appears to be confusion as to whether the rule is in effect or just being considered.

The plan, if implemented, was to have a 10th inning if a game is tied after nine. Also being considered is starting the 10th with a man on second base.

Paying tribute: All major-league teams wore Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Scholl hats during Friday’s games.

“I don’t think wearing a hat will change anything,” Francona said. “I think showing support is always a good thing. In my opinion it’s a very small thing but if it helps even one single person, good.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Loaded lineup boosts Kenton Ridge season promise
Loaded lineup boosts Kenton Ridge season promise

Kenton Ridge softball coach Sarah Schalnat is uneasy about launching the season next week after having to cut back on practice because of frigid weather. Even though the Cougars have had indoor workouts, that’s hardly conducive to shagging flies or running the base paths. But they’re better off than most teams. They return all nine starters...
Marion Local looking to add boys state basketball title, too

Move over, Marion Local football. There’s only one thing that’s worthy of making that happen: Marion Local boys basketball. » ...
Trotwood-Madison rolls into D-II boys state final
Trotwood-Madison rolls into D-II boys state final

Trotwood-Madison defeated Byesville Meadowbrook 88-42 in a boys high school basketball Division II state semifinal at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Friday. The win launches Trotwood (26-3) into Saturday’s state final against the Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Lexington winner. That semi will be played at 2 p.m. Friday...
Michigan DT Maurice Hurst maximizes second chance at Wolverines’ pro day
Michigan DT Maurice Hurst maximizes second chance at Wolverines’ pro day

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When Maurice Hurst found out he couldn’t participate in part of the NFL combine over health concerns, the Michigan defensive tackle didn’t wallow. He became proactive. Hurst needed to make the most of the biggest job interview of his life. Hurst sat out of all physical activities at the combine earlier...
Michigan State’s Gerald Holmes shows off athleticism in broad jump at Pro Day
Michigan State’s Gerald Holmes shows off athleticism in broad jump at Pro Day

The 2018 NFL Draft is fast approaching, and on Friday Michigan State gave professional coaches and scouts the chance to take a closer look at some former Spartans. Running back  Gerald Holmes made the most of his opportunity, recording a 10’8” box jump, a number that would’ve tied for second among all...
More Stories