Notes: Burton eager for second chance
Rookie reliever ready to put Major League debut behind him
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Rookie reliever Jared Burton can take solace in knowing he can only do better from here.
Burton, a Rule 5 Draft pick from Oakland that made the Reds 25-man roster out of Spring Training, had a Major League debut on Wednesday that no one would wish for. The 25-year-old walked all three batters he faced in the ninth inning of a 4-1 Reds loss and also threw a wild pitch.
Of the 16 pitches Burton threw, only four were strikes.
"Everyone says your Major League debut is a special time and it's like an out of body thing," Burton said. "You have no control of your body and it's hard to step back and take deep breaths. It didn't go as well as I planned, obviously. That's not how you always dream your debut would go."
The only out the right-handed Burton recorded came when pinch-runner Ronny Cedeno was caught stealing. A visit from pitching coach Dick Pole after the second walk was intended to calm the rookie down. Instead, Burton threw his wild pitch to next batter Jacque Jones as he walked him on four pitches.
"It was hard to harness that nervous energy and turn it into positive adrenaline," Burton said.
"He's going to go out there again," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "The first time out, I'm sure he was nervous. It was not ideal conditions, as cold as it was. He's got great stuff. He gets great movement."
Victor Santos took over and notched the inning's final two outs and kept Chicago from scoring anymore runs.
Burton, who led the Reds in Spring Training with three saves and has potential as a late-innings stopper, can't wait for the second appearance of his big-league career.
"I'll put that past me and move on," he said. "I'll stay confident and trust my stuff."
Brrrr! It was another bitter cold day at the ballpark on Thursday afternoon with a first-pitch temperature of 35 degrees. It was 39 degrees at Wednesday night's first pitch with flurries. The forecast for this weekend's games call for more chilly weather and snow, making Monday's 72-degree opener now seem way in the past.
Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion hails from the Dominican Republic and is one of a few Latin Reds players. He's not used to freezing while playing baseball.
"It's hard to play in that, but you have to do it," Encarnacion said. "You don't feel your bat. You don't feel the ball. You don't feel anything."
After playing the next three cold games at home, the Reds begin a six-game road trip that starts in the warmth of Phoenix and finishes back in the colder climate of Chicago.
"It's all a part of it," Narron said. "You've got to get it done no matter what the conditions are."
Not in lineup: Narron strongly indicated on Wednesday that rookie Josh Hamilton would get his first start on Thursday. The lineup was posted without Hamilton's name, however, because the outfielder was sick with flu-like symptoms. The Reds hoped he would be available to come off the bench.
What's up with that? In the sixth inning of Wednesday's game, Encarnacion reached on a catcher's interference play when his bat made contact with Michael Barrett's glove. Encarnacion was awarded first base and Barrett was charged with an error.
Encarnacion reached four times last season on catcher's interference and once this spring in an exhibition game. No other Reds hitter has been involved in a catcher's interference play in the last two seasons.
"I just try to let the ball come to me," Encarnacion said. "I don't do that on purpose."
Coming up: The Reds open a three-game series against the Pirates on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Matt Belisle will make his first start of the season against Pittsburgh lefty Paul Maholm.