Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was placed on the bereavement list on Friday. Infielder/outfielder Jose Peraza was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace Hamilton on the 25-man roster.
Hamilton’s three-year-old nephew, K.C. Cole, died in a car accident on Tuesday. After he played on Wednesday vs. the Pirates, Hamilton returned home to Mississippi and was originally expected to rejoin the club on Friday when the Reds opened a series vs. the Phillies.
Peraza, 22, batted .295/.341/.393 with one home run and eight RBIs in 30 games for Louisville. Besides being able to play shortstop and second base, he can also play center field and has speed.
Under the rules, Hamilton will miss a minimum of three days and can miss up to seven games.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto was out of the lineup on Wednesday vs. the Pirates. But there isn’t anything wrong with Votto. Manager Bryan Price noted that Votto played in the first 33 games and that Tuesday’s rainout provided some serendipity in giving Votto an even longer opportunity to recharge his batteries.
“I anticipated him taking the day off before the off day to get back-to-back days off and just some really good recovery time and rest,” Price said. “With the rainout, it gives us the chance to have him miss one game and get three days of rest. It couldn’t have worked out any better. He’s played in every game, he’s started every game and played almost every inning of every game. The timing is good.”
Jordan Pacheco started at first base on Wednesday.
Votto is off to a very slow start at .234/.360/.387 with five home runs. However, he has shown signs of heating up with two homers in his last four games. He’s also reached safely in 17 consecutive games.
“You can’t out-work this guy,” Price said. “He’s putting in an unbelievable amount of time with him and Don [Long] and Tony Jaramillo. We know the history of what Joey does so it will be inevitable where he comes back around and do what he does. I do see a lot better swings. He’s on base a lot more. He’s smoking some balls. I think he will be just fine.”
The Reds added another arm for the beleaguered bullpen Monday by recalling right-handed reliever Layne Somsen from Triple-A Louisville. Outfielder Kyle Waldrop was optioned to Louisville to make room for Somsen.
This is the second promotion for Somsen, who was called up on April 25 for three days while outfielder Jay Bruce was on paternity leave but did not get into a game.
Over his eight appearances for Louisville, Somsen has a 1.29 ERA and 0.857 WHIP over 14 innings. He has walked six and struck out 15.
For the second time this season (and his career) Billy Hamilton started a game batting second in the lineup on Thursday vs. the Brewers.
Hamilton, who has picked up lately after a slow start and struggles last season, has mostly been batting ninth (13 times) and is ideally a leadoff hitter. But manager Bryan Price likes the idea of trying him at the second spot, and keeping Eugenio Suarez down in the sixth spot after he batted second most of the first month of the season.
“[Hamilton] is swinging the bat better, that’s first and foremost. No. 2, I really felt like I wanted Suarez further down in the lineup,” Price said on Thursday. “He’s already been, but I think he’s going to be a really productive offensive player. As much as we’ve discussed the importance of the second spot in the lineup and who is best situated … I just think for Billy to affect us in a positive way offensively, he’s got to be down here being somewhat more disruptive while these other guys are hitting. In order for this to work, he has to continue to swing the bat well and get on base.
“I would love to see him run with it. I think he’s put a lot of hard work in. He’s getting closer to putting those good, consistent swings on the ball. If that happens there, we have a nice dynamic there more towards the top than the bottom.”
Price did not want to move Zack Cozart out of the leadoff spot in favor of Hamilton. Why?
“Because of love what Zack is doing,” Price said. “There are certain things you just don’t want to mess with. I think with Billy hitting first, Zack is in a position of having to take more pitches. Right now he can go up there and zone a pitch and not feel like he’s got to give Billy a chance to run. I think that’s a good thing. Zack is taking advantage of the good pitches early in the count to hit, laying off the ones that aren’t good pitches. I don’t want to disrupt the flow of what he’s doing there.”
Reds CF Billy Hamilton came out of Tuesday’s game against the Giants with a jammed left thumb, the same one that has bothered him since April 15 after a home run robbing catch of Matt Carpenter in St. Louis.
Hamilton was out of the lineup on Wednesday vs. San Francisco. But he’s available off of the bench.
“I think he’s playable. I don’t think he’s unable to play,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have to take him out of the game with inflammation and then fire him up there the next day. I’d like to see it calm down and feel more optimistic that he’s back to normal before I put him in there for a start.”
Hamilton may not be able to hit, but he can still change a game with his speed — either on the bases as a pinch-runner or defensively.
“It’s his glove hand so from a defensive and base running standpoint, it doesn’t limit him,” Price said.