CINCINNATI — It was Jay Bruce’s day to rest on Friday and it was Billy Hamilton’s day to rest on Saturday. Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price not only tries to give his regulars rest, but he tries to get his extra players live action.
Bruce and his .162 batting average were back in the lineup Saturday and Hamilton and his .212 average were on the bench. Hamilton had two hits Friday, including a home run during a 10-2 loss to the Giants, and is 5 for his last 16.
While Price realizes the frail Hamilton can use periodic rests, he also knows that a bench player like Brennan Boesch needs playing time. Boesch was in center field for Hamilton on Saturday.
“I’ve gotten Skip Schumaker a few starts and Kristopher Negron a few starts and Tucker Barnhart has been catching Mike Leake,” said Price. “Our bench hasn’t been a strength yet, but I think we have the pieces here that can be strong. Negron did a tremendous job for us last year and Shumaker had shoulder issues and a concussion last year but was still an important part of our club.
“It’s a matter of how can we create better expectations from our bench if they don’t play periodically, to get enough at bats to stay acquainted with their swings when they do pinch-hit,” said Price.
THE SAD SAGA of relief pitcher Sean Marshall drones on and on and on. The Reds big left handed relief pitcher, who hasn’t pitched much in the last three years, won’t pitch at all this season.
On Wednesday Marshall will undergo surgery to repair the anterior crucial ligament in his left shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. The surgery will be performed by New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek.
MARSHALL’S THREE-YEAR contract expires after this season. During the course of the three-year $16.5 million deal the Reds received 31 appearances and a 0-and-1 record.
“I feel bad for Sean because he has worked so hard at getting through his recurring shoulder issue,” said Price. “It has been a challenge for some time now. This is more than just a setback. It is the third year of being challenged from a health perspective.
“He was a big part of our 2012 team and not just from a physical performance thing,” Price added. “He provided leadership in our bullpen, which we’d love to strengthen. It’s a huge blow because we are a way better team with Sean Marshall. We could have locked down some games (in the eighth inning) with a healthy Sean Marshall.”
THERE WERE SOME raised eyebrows when it was announced that the Mets medical director was performing the surgery rather than Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek.
There is nothing negative to be read into it.
“It probably is the fact this guy (Dr. Altchek) has done this particular surgery more,” said Price. “There is nothing against Dr. Kremchek. He is a very reliable surgeon for the Reds and other major league teams for a long, long time. There is no reflection on Tim at all.”
WHEN THE SMOKE stack in Great American Ball Park caught fire during Friday’s game, black smoke poured skyward and for a time across the field.
It was the most smoke seen in Great American Ball Park since former manager Jack McKeon exercised by walking laps around the warning track, wearing short and puffing a very large and lit cigar.
BOOK SIGNINGS: For those looking for Father’s Day presents (early), how about my book, ‘The Real McCoy?’ On Monday morning at 9 a.m. I will be in the lobby of the Dayton International Airport in Vandalia selling and signing books. And on Thursday at 6:30 I will be at the Vandalia Public Library selling and signing books, 500 South Dixie, in Vandalia.