MINNEAPOLIS -- In his brief stint as interim manager for the Reds, Jim Riggleman has quickly shown he's not worried about how players will feel about his decisions -- especially when removing one of them from a game.Twice in the previous three games -- Thursday and Saturday -- Riggleman has
MINNEAPOLIS -- In his brief stint as interim manager for the Reds, Jim Riggleman has quickly shown he's not worried about how players will feel about his decisions -- especially when removing one of them from a game.
Twice in the previous three games -- Thursday and Saturday -- Riggleman has pulled a struggling Billy Hamilton for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of run-scoring situations. The first time, vs. Atlanta, Hamilton could be seen showing his displeasure as he returned to the dugout.
"Pinch-hitting is a very touchy area. Players can be offended by it. But that cannot be your determining factor. You can hurt some feelings and all that," Riggleman said. "I point out to players sometimes that Jim Rice, Mark McGwire, Jim Thome, they got pinch-hit for. The game situation called for somebody else to do the job."
Riggleman recalled the first time he was removed for a pinch-hitter as a Minor League player.
"I was shocked. I was so [ticked] off at myself for putting a manager in the position where he had to use a player instead of me," Riggleman said. "Not to pat myself on the back, but I hit .320 the rest of the year. It got my attention. The next move is A ball."
Hamilton, who entered Sunday batting .169/.281/.241 in 26 games, was out of the lineup on Sunday as Scott Schebler started in center field. Not only is Hamilton not getting on base, he isn't making good contact. According to Statcast™, his average exit velocity is 75.1 percent, the lowest among Major League hitters with at least 50 results this season.
During Saturday's 3-1 loss, Hamilton batted twice with runners in scoring position and popped out both times to the infield.
"He's struggling. I'm going to try a lineup out there today -- I would prefer to have him in it because of the defense," Riggleman said.
Starting pitchers have also had quicker hooks than in the past by Riggleman. In his last start on Wednesday vs. the Braves, Brandon Finnegan was pulled after 77 pitches in five innings. Homer Bailey was taken out the following game for a pinch-hitter with runners on base when he had thrown just 50 pitches in five innings.
"It's not that I'm less concerned about their feelings. It's important, but it's secondary to what you feel is the right thing to do," Riggleman said. "Believe me, you never come to the ballpark saying, 'Man, I hope I get to pinch-hit for somebody today.' You hate that. You also know you've got to manage for the 25, not the one. Every now and then, you can manage for the one and allow him to get going. You do that when you can. Most of the time you've got to manage for 25, not the one."
Senzel out of Louisville lineup
Nick Senzel, the Reds' top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was removed from Saturday's game with Triple-A Louisville at Toledo with a right shoulder injury. Playing second base in the sixth inning, Senzel tried to make a diving stop to his left on a groundball and landed awkwardly on his shoulder.
Senzel was evaluated after the game and again on Sunday. He was originally back in Louisville's lineup as the designated hitter, but was a late scratch. Cliff Pennington was the DH instead.
Ranked No. 1 in the organization and No. 7 overall by MLB Pipeline, Senzel entered the day batting .264/.346/.431 with two home runs and five RBIs.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.