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Hand still swollen, Hamilton held out of lineup

BOSTON -- The swelling on the middle of Billy Hamilton's left hand had yet to subside. His failed attempt to swing a bat a few times had the Reds' rookie center fielder concerned about potentially going on the disabled list on Tuesday afternoon.

"After swinging the bat today, it's very tough," Hamilton said. "I did three swings, maybe. I couldn't hold on to the bat. The bat fell out of my hand."

A short time later, Hamilton was re-examined by medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek. His status still remained unchanged, however.

"He looked at him and he's shown some improvement, but he's still the proverbial day to day," general manager Walt Jocketty said.

Hamilton, the team's regular leadoff hitter, has been limited to one pinch-running appearance since spraining two knuckles while making a diving catcher vs. the Brewers on Thursday. On Tuesday vs. the Red Sox, Skip Schumaker played center field while Chris Heisey led off and played right field.

Jocketty said Hamilton would not have to undergo a MRI exam of his hand.

"It's all about the pain," Jocketty said. "There's nothing, from what I understand, more he can do to damage it. It's just being able to tolerate the pain."

At this time, there were no plans to place Hamilton on the disabled list.

"Not yet," Jocketty said. "I don't know who we'd replace him with."

Organizationally, the Reds' system is strapped for outfielders. At Triple-A Louisville, Ryan LaMarre is on the DL. At Double-A Pensacola, both Donald Lutz and Yorman Rodriguez have been injured, and even at Class A Bakersfield, prospect Jesse Winker is on the DL with a concussion.

In the Reds' 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in 12 innings, the Reds turned to Hamilton for bunting duties. He pinch-hit for designated hitter Neftali Soto in the ninth and sacrifice bunted. In the 11th batting right-handed vs. Andrew Miller, Hamilton tried to push bunt for a single with nobody on base.

"We didn't really want to green light him to swing," manager Bryan Price said. "Of course, they kind of sniffed that out and had their corners in and he still had a nice push-bunt there from the right side but wasn't able to beat it. He's not at 100 percent."

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