Hamilton shows why he is so important

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave awaiting the start of the Michigan-Tulsa First Four game at UD Arena, wondering why either team was invited to the NCAA and bemoaning the fact that the winner of the game gets to advance. The folks at Monmouth and St. Bonaventure have to be wondering, “What the heck?”


Billy Hamilton was in the Cincinnati Reds lineup Tuesday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals, but was not in center field. He was the designated hitter as the team continues to be careful with his surgically repaired right shoulder.


HE BATTED LEADOFF and immediately showed his value to this team. On the first pitch in the first inning against Ian Kennedy, Hamilton dropped a bunt.


It wasn’t a good bunt. It went directly to Kennedy. But by the time he picked it up, all he could do was study commissioner Rob Manfred’s signature on the baseball because Hamilton was across first base.


Zack Cozart then flied to the right field corner in foul territory and Hamilton tagged up and took second. After Joey Votto took a walk on four pitches, Hamilton took third base on a short, short wild pitch. He then scored on Adam Duvall’s ground ball single to right. Jay Bruce then doubled to right for a 2-1 lead.


That’s called speed, speed and more speed.


THAT ALL CAME against Kennedy, who signed a $70 million deal with the Royals after going 9-and-15 with a plus-four earned run average last year with the San Diego Padres. Imagine what he might have received if he had gone 15-and-9 with a sub-three ERA.


REDS STARTER BRANDON Finnega, facing his old team, gave up a double on the first pitch he threw, but settled in nicely. He pitched into the fifth inning (4 1/3 innings) and gave up one run while he was in the game (a second run that he put on base scored after he left the game), walked none and struck out four.


There was some concern in the second inning when Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer lined one off the glove-hand thumb of Finnegan. It knocked his glove off, but he chased down the ball and threw out Hosmer. After the inning, Finnegan was in the dugout shaking his hand, but fortunately it wasn’t his pitching hand and he finished his assignment.


THE NEWS ON MICHAEL Lorenzen is not good. An MRI revealed he has a mild strain and tendonitis in his right elbow, meaning he won’t be ready for Opening Day, losing his chance to make the rotation.


On the other side, catcher Devin Mesoraco is expected to make his spring debut Thursday and will be behind the plate. He said the delay of his return was because of some early spring tightness in his groin area, but that isn’t expected to slow him down upon his return.


JUAN DURAN, who will begin the season suspended for 80 days for testing positive for performance-enhanching drugs, drilled a two-out two run single in the bottom of the seventh, breaking a 2-2 tie and giving the Reds a 4-2 lead.


Duran has had quite a bit of playing time this spring, when brings up a question? Why would you give a kid so much playing time, taking it away from other prospects, when he won’t be able to play the first 80 games of the season?

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