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Hamilton understands importance of bunting

NEW YORK -- Billy Hamilton has struggled offensively this season, but the Reds' center fielder hasn't given up on using the bunt as an effective weapon.

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Hamilton, who entered Friday batting .225 with a .270 on-base percentage, was 0-for-6 on bunt attempts as of May 5. Since then, he's gone 5-for-9 bunting for hits, including a nice right-handed push bunt on Tuesday vs. Pirates lefty Jeff Locke.

"The work was there the whole time," Hamilton said on Friday. "What I've been doing has been working out for me. I've just to get to the point where I do it more. If I get it down, it helps me out a lot."

Hamilton works each day on bunting -- either on the field or behind the scenes in the indoor cage. When he gets on base, his speed and ability to steal make him a disruptive presence on the bases. He currently leads the Majors in stolen bases.

Of course, Hamilton can't steal first base, as the saying goes. But bunting can add to his hit total and keep the defense playing in to respect it.

"I have to have faith in myself that I can do it," Hamilton said. "I feel like sometimes that I waste an at-bat when I bunt and not get a hit. I've got to realize it's going to help me out. I was talking to [Marlins outfielder] Dee Gordon, and [coach Brett] Butler was talking to him about going up there and trying to get three hits out of 10. If I mix in a few bunts, they can be hits. Bunting is a big key, so I need to start doing it more."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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