Notes: Shin splints sideline Hamilton
Outfielder will be rested against his former team
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Josh Hamilton has gone 9-for-16 with a home run and three RBIs in five games. (Al Behrman/AP)
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Opposing pitching has yet to slow down Reds outfielder Josh Hamilton this spring, but sore legs temporarily have.
Because he's been bothered by shin splints, Hamilton will be rested from Tuesday's game against the Devil Rays at St. Petersburg.
The overall No. 1 draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Hamilton's first return to the area as a visiting player was expected to draw some extra attention. He was part of the Rays organization during his near four-year absence from the game because of drug suspensions and injuries and never reached the Majors as greatly anticipated.
"I've had it the last week and a half," Hamilton said of his injury. "But I know people will think I'm not going because of who we're playing."
Hamilton played his fifth-straight game for the Reds on Monday and went 1-for-1 against the Phillies with a walk and a run scored as the center fielder. He was lifted from the game before the fourth inning and replaced by Jerry Gil.
This spring, Hamilton is 9-for-16 (.563) with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored. Reds manager Jerry Narron had originally planned to play the 25-year-old against his old organization.
"Tampa Bay has nothing to do with it," Narron said. "That's why I took him out of the game after two at-bats today."
Narron expected Hamilton would miss just the one game. The manager is trying to give him as many at-bats as possible this spring to improve his chances of making the team. Because he's a Rule 5 Draft player, if Cincinnati doesn't keep Hamilton on the 25-man roster all season, he could still be offered back to Tampa Bay if he's not claimed off of waivers first.
The Reds and Devil Rays will meet twice more after Tuesday, including March 23 at St. Petersburg.
Wilson roughed up: Reds starting pitcher Paul Wilson did not mince his words about his Monday performance vs. the Phillies.
"It was ugly and I got my [tail] kicked around," Wilson said.
Wilson allowed five earned runs and seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander is trying to earn a spot on the pitching staff after being out since May 2005 because of shoulder surgery. In his spring debut Thursday, he appeared much better during two innings of relief
"He just did not have good command today," Narron said. "He did not throw strikes, basically."
At some points, Wilson appeared to be one pitch, or one out, from escaping danger but couldn't finish off the hitter. At other times, like the top of the third inning, he looked strong and struck out his first two batters.
"It would come and go," Wilson said. "I would feel comfortable and I could feel confident. I'd slow down and everything would be working right. Then, I'd try to get in a hurry and be a spaz and it'd snowball. Baseball doesn't care whether you've been hurt or not hurt. If you're not doing the right things, and not being aggressive, it can come back and bite you. Who knows? Maybe that's exactly what I needed."
Injury report: X-rays taken on Ryan Freel's injured left hand were negative. Freel, who was injured during Saturday's game, was given an extra day of rest and was expected to return to action Tuesday.
Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, who came out of Friday's game with a strained right hamstring, is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday. Bronson Arroyo, who missed a "B" game Sunday because of the flu, threw in a simulated game on Monday.
Ken Griffey Jr. (left hand) took more batting practice on Monday. Outfielder/first baseman Jeff Conine (back) was given another day of rest.
Kidding around: Wilson was pitching on three days' rest Monday and a few other starting pitchers have done likewise this week. But Narron had no ulterior motives in mind.
"I'm not trying to get a four-man rotation, if that's what you're thinking," Narron said. "My thoughts on a four-man rotation and Nicole Kidman are probably the same."
Narron is a fan of the days when there were still four-man rotations.
Coming up: Eric Milton will make his second spring start for the Reds in Tuesday's 1:05 p.m. ET meeting with the Devil Rays. Matt Belisle, Brian Shackelford, Victor Santos and Kerry Ligtenberg are also expected to get some innings. Right-hander James Shields will start for Tampa Bay.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.