Hamilton sits vs. knuckleballer
Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was out of Sunday’s lineup and Skip Schumaker was in. Rest wasn’t the primary motivation for manager Bryan Price’s decision. Trying to have experienced hitters vs. Blue Jays knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey played a part.
“It’s not so much [a day off], more so the fact that I think Ludwick has  at-bats against Dickey and he’s [3-for-11]. And Schu is 3-for-8, and having some experience with a knuckleballer, I think there’s an advantage to that.” Price said. “And a day off for Billy isn’t the worst thing. My concern isn’t that he can’t do it, it’s just that we knew that when we went into the season there’s going to be a lot of wear and tear. A young center fielder who plays with that type of energy, who steals bases, who covers a lot of ground in center field, who’s 160 pounds, and he’s going to be playing into the late months that he hasn’t done as a regular player before — playing into September and maybe into October — so it just makes sense.”
Because he had no background as a hitter, Price had no real advice for his players about how to handle Dickey, who is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in three career starts vs. the Reds but hasn’t faced them since 2012 for the Mets. Price did not that when he was pitching coach for the D-backs, the club had radio analyst and ex-knuckleballer Tom Candiotti to throw batting practice before the D-backs faced the Red Sox and Tim Wakefield.
“We didn’t hit Tom and we didn’t hit Wakefield,” Price said.