CINCINNATI — There is a cute and clever commerical on MLB Network involving Cincinnati Reds outfielders Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton.
It begins with Schebler and Duvall sitting in the dugout eating hot dogs and somebody says, “Shouldn’t you guys be out on the field?”
Duvall says, “Oh, Billy Hamilton is out there and he can handle it all.” Schebler then leans toward Duvall and says, “Pass the mustard.”
WHILE HAMILTON DOES cover more ground than the Pacific Ocean, Schebler and Duvall aren’t cigar store Indinas standing in the outfield.
Schebler proved it Wednesday night when he climbed the right field fence, reached over it, and brought back what would have been a three-run home run hit by Milwaukee catcher Stephen Vogt.
His best catcher ever and anywhere?
“Absolutely, no doubt about it,” said Schebler. “When it left the bat I thought, ‘Home run, gone, right off the bat.’ I didn’t think I had a chance to catch it.”
BUT CATCH IT HE DID and he said, “I normally don’t watch replays on anything I do, not even home runs. But I went up after the inning and watched it on video.
“I don’t get jazzed up by much, but I was jazzed up after that one,” he said. “I even kept the ball because that was pretty cool. I get pumped up for defense because I’m doing something for the pitcher, helping him out.”
AMAZINGLY, VOGT HIT two other hard line drives to right field and Schebler tracked them both down, one after a long run.
“When I went to the plate, I told Vogt, ‘I don’t wish that on anybody. Quit hitting the ball to me. I’m feeling good and I have to do something because I’m not doing anything offensively.”
MANAGER BRYAN PRICE ranked it in his all-time Top Ten catches he has witnessed in his career.
His No. 1 happened in an Arizona Fall League game in Scottsdale and it was performed by center fielder Mark Kotsay.
“Bases loaded in the first inning and the ball was hit over Kotsay’s head,” said Price. “He ran with his back to the infield and with his back still to the infield he leaped against the wall and caught it over the wall as the ball came down over his head.”
That was Willie Mays re-visited — the 1954 World Series catch Mays made on Cleveland’s Vic Wertz.
And Price has an all-time trick catch, made by Stan Javier in Seattle’s Safeco Field. “He ran to the wall and reached over it to snag the ball and crashed into the wall. He fell to the ground and his glove went flying and the ball popped up in the air. While lying on his back he caught it barehanded. Greatest circus catch I evser saw.”
THE ELEPHANT IN THE clubhouse is what happens to Scooter Gennett when Zack Cozat returns to the lineup, probably Friday night.
During Cozart’s absence, manager Bryan Price shifted second baseman Jose Peraza to shortstop and implanted Gennett at second and he has been unstoppable and unflappable.
IN HIS LAST 19 APPEARANCES, Gennett is hitting .361 with five doubles, nine homee runs and 24 RBI.
“There is a lot of flexibility with Scooter and we’re going to have to stick with the multi-positional theme to keep him in the lineup,” said Price.
“That means moving him around — second, third, left, right. It means we’ll have to mix-and-match a little bit,” Price added. “You can’t deny his impact on our ballclub and it is my desire to have him in the lineup with regularity.
“It just can’t be at one position because it is very important to continue to develop Jose Peraza as a second baseman and middle infielder. I don’t want to deprive him of the opportunity to develop. So we’ll move Scooter around and it won’t be like before where he went three, four and five days without playing.”
SPEAKING OF PERAZA, Price was asked how he assesses Peraza’s season so far.
“A little up and down,” he said. “The league is getting to know him and he has to compete with that, what he has handled and what he hasn’t handled.”
Price, though, said that counting last season Peraza is over 500 at bats for his short career, close to a full season.
“We were talking about this earlier today and if you take to date he has up over 500 at bats, which constitutes about 152 games, close to a full season, he has a .282 average with 39 stolen bases and some runs scored and some good defense at several different positions,” said Price. “I am not at all disappointed in him and have not lost any confidence. He is going to be an impact player for us.”
THE REDS HAVE YET to announce a starting pitcher for Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
“We know who it is but we have not been given the OK to reveal it because I’m not sure that pitcher knows,” said Price. “I don’t like being coy, I know who it is, but we want to make sure he knows.”
Best guess? Either Jackson Stephens or Tyler Mahle, both at Class AAA Louisville. Whichever it is, he’ll be making his major league debut. Stephens was up briefly earlier this season but did not appear in a game.
Either Stephens or Mahle will be the 13th different pitcher to start a game for the Reds. Over the last three seasons the Reds have started rookie pitchers in 194 of the 402 games played.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Reds managere Bryan Price said Gene Hackman is one of his all-time favorite actors, “But I didn’t go see French Connection because I don’t undertand French.”