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Thread: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Notes: Hamilton awaits game action
    Reds outfielder making up for lost time in Spring Training
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- So far this spring, everything seems to be going well for outfielder Josh Hamilton. But his ultimate baseball test has yet to really begin.

    The batting practice strokes have often been impressive. The fielding drills appear to be going well. Not bad for a guy that hasn't played for most of the past four years.

    Those factors aren't quite a full barometer to answer the questions weighing highly on everyone's mind at Reds camp this spring:

    Can Hamilton still play at a high level? Can the outfielder really break camp on the 25-man roster?

    Those answers will start to formulate when the Reds' Grapefruit League schedule starts on Thursday against the Pirates. Hamilton can't wait to see how it goes.

    "I'm really excited about games starting up and getting back into game situations," Hamilton said on Monday. "I got a brief glimpse of it last season. It's good to be back, and I know I'll get a lot more games."

    The first overall draft pick by the Devil Rays in 1999 as the ultimate five-tool player, Hamilton's story has been well-chronicled. Injuries and suspensions for drug use derailed his once promising career from 2003-2006. The only 15 games he played in that four-year span came at the Class A level last summer.

    An early arrival to camp, Hamilton wowed onlookers with some long drives over the fences. The only big-league pitchers the 25-year-old has faced were his own teammates during live BP sessions this spring. Hamilton looked and felt comfortable in the batter's box there, too.

    "I actually feel better during the live pitching than the coach's batting practice," Hamilton said. "It's weird. I think I'm more relaxed and just trying to hit line drives in live BP. I'm still trying to tell myself in coach's batting practice to work on things, but it's kind of hard to when the wind is blowing out. You want to see how far you can hit it. That's where inexperience comes in on my part. I just need to watch the veteran guys, see what they're doing and do it."

    It won't be unexpected if any rust remaining in Hamilton's swing shows once he encounters the opposition. Reds manager Jerry Narron plans to battle that by giving Hamilton plenty of at-bats.

    "I'm looking forward to seeing him play," Narron said. "He's going to play a lot. I'm going to try and speed this thing up as quickly as we can for him and see if he's up for that challenge."

    Narron plans to use Hamilton a lot in center field this spring. At one point with Tampa Bay, he reportedly rated better at the position than stars Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford. Hamilton can also play both corner spots.

    "He was a very good center fielder. He's a very good athlete," Narron said. "His throwing arm is outstanding."

    As a Rule 5 Draft pick of the Cubs who was dealt to the Reds in December, Hamilton must remain on the 25-man roster all season or be exposed to waivers. If he clears, he must be offered back to Tampa Bay for $25,000.

    That puts the Reds in an intriguing situation. Narron plans on carrying five outfielders and at the moment, already has four of those spots locked up for Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel and Jeff Conine. Hamilton is vying against Chris Denorfia, Norris Hopper and Bubba Crosby for consideration at the fifth spot. Narron also didn't rule out carrying a sixth outfielder if Freel was moved to the infield.

    Because of his layoff and his past, Hamilton can be considered a long shot to break camp with the Reds. A lot will depend on if the Reds carry 11 or 12 pitchers, two or three catchers and injuries. Not wanting to risk losing someone with Hamilton's ability, Cincinnati will likely give him every opportunity to make the team.

    There isn't exactly a long list of players that have returned to baseball from several years away from the game. Those who did were already accomplished players that served in the military at war time. Hamilton, who has never played above Double-A, tries not to burden himself over his long odds.

    "If I think about time and that I haven't done this in so long, more than likely I won't be able to do it," he said. "If you talk yourself into something long enough, you believe it and you'll probably do it. I have to put the past behind me and put the time issue behind me. I'll just look at each day and each at-bat as a new at-bat."

    Plethora of pitchers: A tentative list of pitchers to be used in Wednesday's 12 p.m. ET intrasquad was revealed by Narron. Bronson Arroyo, Calvin Medlock, Michael Gosling, Kerry Ligtenberg, Phil Dumatrait, Homer Bailey, Brad Salmon and Jon Coutlangus are among those expected to see action.

    "That is definitely subject to change," Narron said.

    Seen and heard: Reds players were ushered into the press room for photographs and body image shots taken for the 2008 edition of Sony's Major League Baseball video game on Monday. ... New Reds broadcasters Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley are scheduled to arrive in Sarasota on Tuesday. ... Reliever Gary Majewski celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/...=.jsp&c_id=cin

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Jeez, what's the proper analogy for going from A-ball to major league pitching after a 4 year hiatus from baseball?


    Even with his once vaulted prospect status, it really is mind-boggling when you think about it.
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    Worst Behavior. reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    That puts the Reds in an intriguing situation. Narron plans on carrying five outfielders and at the moment, already has four of those spots locked up for Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel and Jeff Conine. Hamilton is vying against Chris Denorfia, Norris Hopper and Bubba Crosby for consideration at the fifth spot. Narron also didn't rule out carrying a sixth outfielder if Freel was moved to the infield.
    WOW, if Hamilton shows anything in Spring Training Denorfia is going to start 2007 in Louisville. That's very odd.

    It's going to be interesting to see how Hamilton is used in April if he lites it up in Spring.
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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action


    Narron plans to use Hamilton a lot in center field this spring.
    Interesting, hopefully that means Griffey will be in right field.

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Narron plans on carrying five outfielders and at the moment, already has four of those spots locked up for Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel and Jeff Conine.
    Wow. The Reds actually consider Jeff Conine to be the 4th outfielder. That's scary. Also, if this tidbit is indeed true, Deno is most certainly ticketed for Louisville. His best hope is an injury to one of the four names above or Josh Hamilton. Or a trade obviously.

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Quote Originally Posted by BRM View Post
    Wow. The Reds actually consider Jeff Conine to be the 4th outfielder. That's scary. Also, if this tidbit is indeed true, Deno is most certainly ticketed for Louisville. His best hope is an injury to one of the four names above or Josh Hamilton. Or a trade obviously.
    That's just criminal.
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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    That's just criminal.
    No doubt. The Reds should be looking hard at Deno as a starter in CF, not as the 5th outfielder. He should be a lock for this team.

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Beware of fluff. This article is one big fluff piece.

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    If there is any validity to Chris Denorfia having to fight for the 5th outfield spot, Wayne Krivsky and Jerry Narron are officially morons. It is as simple as that.

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    If there is any validity to Chris Denorfia having to fight for the 5th outfield spot, Wayne Krivsky and Jerry Narron are officially morons. It is as simple as that.
    100% accurate. It's almost to the point that you can only laugh. I hope this article is an effort to liven up the papers a bit.

    I would say this is a ridiculous thought, but with Narron's history with this guy and last year's roster shenanigans, I'd say we're at about even money.

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    I'm hoping Deno can get traded to a team that will give him playing time, would be sad for the kid to waste high talent years sitting in AAA waiting for Conine to bomb.
    Go Gators!

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed View Post
    I'm hoping Deno can get traded to a team that will give him playing time, would be sad for the kid to waste high talent years sitting in AAA waiting for Conine to bomb.
    I am not sure its possible for Conine to bomb.... he OPS'd last season at the age of 40 to the tune of .724, so Krivsky signs him to a contract. There isnt much more bombing to happen from a 41 year old. The fact that the Reds seriously signed a guy who turns 41 in May to a contract when the season before he OPS'd .724 makes my brain hurt.

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    How can Wayne & Jerry preach Pitching and Defense when they lack the ability to identify good pitching and defense when they see it?

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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Madden View Post
    How can Wayne & Jerry preach Pitching and Defense when they lack the ability to identify good pitching and defense when they see it?
    Yea, I mean they only brought Arroyo to town and then turn around and locked him up for a reasonable amount of money to extend his time in Cincy. It only gave us a solid 1-2 combo at the front of the rotation for the first time in years.

    And they extended Harrang so we'd avoid losing him to FA and did so for what was widely regarded as a "very good deal". I mean, he only was at the top of the league in strike outs and innings pitched last year.

    They've only taken a kid glove approach with the most highly regarded pitching prospect in the farm system (and one of the highest ranked in all of baseball) to ensure we'd be able to get the most mileage out of him when he is ready. They didn't draft him, but they only are taking percautions to make sure we protect a valuable asset.

    After the horrific defense at SS from Lopez and Clayton, they brought in Gonzo, widely regarded to be very good at defense (not top tier, but very good). So they've improved the position that sees the most percentage of plays on the field from horrific to very good defense.

    There's been a lot of chatter about moving Jr to RF this offseason, more so than any other offseason. While it remains a big test to see if they actually move Jr over, that we are even hearing the rumblings of it, and Hamilton is seeing time in CF tells me the odds of it happening are increasing daily.

    So yea, you are right. Dispite all of their legtimate mistakes and misteps they've never once shown any ability to identify pitching or defense. Ever.
    Last edited by Ltlabner; 02-27-2007 at 08:20 AM.
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    Re: Notes: Hamilton awaits game action

    Don't get so defensive there Ltlabner. I didn't see the word "never" in Ron Madden's post.

    From where I sit, I see exactly one offseason move that has improved the defense. Gonzalez. That's it. Conine doesn't improve the team defense anywhere he plays and he likely downgrades the defense when steps into the OF grass. The simplest, most logical improvement the team can make without making any trades is moving Junior to RF and playing Deno in CF. Hopefully that takes place soon and everyone's worries will be put to bed. However, you'll have to forgive folk's impatience when they keep reading stories claiming Conine is the 4th outfielder and Deno is fighting for a seat on the bench. It seems like a no-brainer move to most of us but every article we read makes us feel like it simply won't happen. It's just got people a little crazy, that's all.


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