By HAL McCOY
The significant news Monday out of the Cincinnati Reds camp in Goodyear, Ariz., had nothing to do with the team’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It was a ‘B’ day for the Reds — the only regular in the lineup was Scott Schebler and he was the designated hitter. And the Reds lost, 5-2. So far they’ve won one, lost three and tied one.
What everybody was talking about Monday was that the Reds signed speedy free agent center fielder Ben Revere to a minor league contract with an invitation to the major league camp.
He needed to first pass a physical and was expected in camp Tuesday.
This may be a message to Billy Hamilton, a message that says, “It is time to produce or we might take another avenue.”
That avenue could be Revere, an outstanding defensive players who can hit and steal bases. In his six years, the 29-year-old left handed hitter owns a .284 career batting average, a .319 career on-base percentage and 211 career stolen bases.
He was Minnesota’s No. 1 pick out of Lexington, Ky., in 2007 and has major league experience with Minnesota, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
He played for the Angels last season and hit .275 with a .308 on base average and 21 stolen bases.
If nothing else, he should get Hamilton’s attention. And he could be the Reds’ fifth outfielder with Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker and Hamilton.
ON THE FIELD, it was a forgettable day for Robert Stephenson during his spring debut.
He gave up three runs and three hits and became the first Reds starter to be relieved in mid-inning. He pitched 1 2/3 innings.
He was in trouble in the first inning when he walked the first batter, David Peralta, on four pitches. He went to 3-and-2 on Nick Ahmed, but struck him out and catcher Devin Mesoraco threw out Peralta trying to steal second base.
But he didn’t get out of the second inning. He started the inning by striking out Chris Walker, but Alex Avila hit a home run. Stephenson followed that by giving up a single and Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a long, long two-run home run for a 3-0 Diamondbacks lead. Stephenson struck out the next batter for the second out, but because Stephenson used up so many pitches getting to that point manager Bryan Price took him out.
On a positive note, of the five outs Stephenson recorded, four were strikeouts.
Raisel Iglesias pitched a 1-2-3 inning, but ran into trouble in his second inning, giving up a run that shouldn’t have scored. He gave up a solid single and Ahmed lined one to center that Phillip Ervin misplayed and skipped away. A run scored when catcher Tony Cruz dropped the throw at home.
Iglesias struck out three in his two innings, but gave up a run, two hits and a walk.Reds pitchers struck out 16, but gave up three home runs, including a solo blast in the eighth inning by Kevin Cron off Reds minor leaguer Domingo Tapia. Cron hit 25 home runs last year and was Arizona’s Minor League Player of the Year. He also singled off Stephenson in the second inning.
Meanwhile, the Reds were helpless at the plate. They didn’t have a hit until Schebler singled with two outs in the fifth inning and they finished with five hits. And the Reds struck out 10 times.