Schebler displays defensive skill with Cincinnati Reds

Scott Schebler made enough of an impression in his debut Wednesday as a Reds right fielder to earn a repeat performance Thursday.

Schebler, recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday after Cincinnati traded Jay Bruce to the Mets, started in left field on Tuesday before manager Bryan Price decided on Wednesday to see what the rookie can do in right field.

All Schebler did Wednesday was throw out Matt Holliday trying to turn a single into a double and reach over the right-field wall to rob Jedd Gyorko of a home run with a leaping catch.

Schebler wasn’t sure, but he believed that first homer-saving catch might have been the first of his life. He played infield until starting his professional career, and even after the shift, he never saw an opportunity.

“A lot of the walls in the minor leagues, you have no chance of robbing it,” he said. “Usually in the minor leagues, they raise the wall so high, it’s hard to go get one, but with a wall like (Great American Ball Park’s), I’ve seen Jay do it a million times — jump up on the wall and grab one. It just kept going. (Gyorko) must have back-spun it pretty good, because normally on a ball like that, I try to get back there, and if it’s like that, I climb the wall. I just kept going back.”

Schebler was equally proud of nailing Holliday.

“They’ve always said I have an average arm, but going to my left, when you do that reverse pivot, you can get a little extra behind your throw,” he said. “That’s kind of what happened. I got a little momentum and just made a good throw — put it right on the money.”

Funny bone: Schebler seemed to be in serious pain after getting hit in the right knee by Mike Leake in the sixth inning Wednesday. He hobbled down to first, was checked out by a trainer, convinced Price that he could play and walked around before play resumed. He limped to third on a double and scored on Ramon Cabrera's single before leaving the game.

“It just hit the funny bone of the knee,” Schebler said. “I had to move around. I got some ice, and it’s better. I’m good to go.”

Multi-tasking: Josh Smith was ready when the call to the bullpen came saying he was going to pitch the sixth inning of Tuesday's game against St. Louis. The next call caught him by surprise.

“They said if Cody (Reed) gets them to hit into a double play, you’re leading off,” Smith said. “I’m like, ‘Uh, OK.’ ”

Reed got the double-play ball and Smith had to hustle in from the bullpen and grab a bat. What happened next was even more surprising. He smashed a 2-2 pitch down the third-base line and into the corner for a pinch-hit double.

“It probably helped that I didn’t have too much time to think about it,” he said. “I tried not to make it too complicated. You just hope you get a (fastball) and try to put the barrel on the ball.”

“I know he was champing at the bit to get from the bullpen to the batter’s box,” said Price, who was one hitter short on the bench since Zack Cozart’s bruised right ring finger left him unable to grip a bat.

The pinch-hit was Cincinnati’s first by a pitcher since Micah Owings on June 15, 2010.

Next: Cincinnati right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (6-0) will try to stay undefeated as the Reds open a 10-day, nine-game Central Division road trip on Friday with the opener of a three-game series in Pittsburgh. Right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-2) is the Pirates' scheduled starter.