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Depleted outfield gives Tucker chances to play

Newly acquired outfielder has opportunities with Schebler, Winker out
MLB.com @m_sheldon

DETROIT -- For the first time in a couple of days, new Reds outfielder Preston Tucker could settle in, get his bearings and focus on baseball again. Tucker was given word late Monday night that he was traded from the Braves to the Reds -- along with pitchers Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler -- for outfielder Adam Duvall.

"I found out at about 11 o'clock the other night," Tucker said on Wednesday. "I had to drive back to the apartment and pack up everything. I woke up early and packed again in the morning. Then I tried to fly out and the flight got delayed for 2-3 hours. I got a chance to make it halfway through [Tuesday's] game. I was available."

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DETROIT -- For the first time in a couple of days, new Reds outfielder Preston Tucker could settle in, get his bearings and focus on baseball again. Tucker was given word late Monday night that he was traded from the Braves to the Reds -- along with pitchers Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler -- for outfielder Adam Duvall.

"I found out at about 11 o'clock the other night," Tucker said on Wednesday. "I had to drive back to the apartment and pack up everything. I woke up early and packed again in the morning. Then I tried to fly out and the flight got delayed for 2-3 hours. I got a chance to make it halfway through [Tuesday's] game. I was available."

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Tucker, 28, didn't get into the Reds' 2-1 loss to the Tigers, but he went 1-for-4 with an RBI single -- his first hit and RBI with Cincinnati -- as the designated hitter in Wednesday's 7-4 loss.

This marked the second time in less than a year that Tucker was traded. A seventh-round Draft pick of the Astros in 2012, he was traded from Houston to Atlanta in December. With the Braves as a role player, he was batting .256/.307/.444 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 62 games.

"I knew when I got traded to Atlanta, it was a crowded outfield and a lot of competition," Tucker said. "It's the same here, but unfortunately there are some guys on the DL, which gives me some more time. Hopefully I can help us win some games."

Three members of the four-man outfield rotation the Reds entered the season with are out of the picture. Scott Schebler is on the disabled list (right shoulder) and on a rehab assignment with a return date not yet known. Jesse Winker had season-ending right shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

With the Braves, Tucker was often the left-handed hitting side of a platoon in left field. For his career, he's a .238 hitter with 20 home runs vs. right-handers in 493 plate appearances, but he's hit .173 with one homer in 102 plate appearances vs. lefties.

"In the Minor Leagues, I faced lefties all the time," Tucker said. "I faced some lefties here and there when I played with Houston. Atlanta was big on platoon situations and playing matchups. They really tried to take advantage of that, and they doubled switched me out a lot when I was there. Hopefully I face some lefties here."

Interim manager Jim Riggleman indicated that Tucker would likely get matchups vs. right-handers.

"I like having left-handed hitters in there against righties as much as possible. He's got some pop in his bat," Riggleman said.

Tucker saw a couple of familiar faces when he entered the Reds clubhouse, namely pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. They spent three years playing together for the University of Florida.

"When we found out, it was a little whirlwind of a day for me, so I was having a tough time catching up. But he texted me that night and I got back to him," Tucker said. "I told him I was excited to be here."

Riggleman returning to D.C.

For the first since he resigned as the Nationals manager in 2011, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman will be working as a skipper vs. his former team when the Reds visit Washington for a four-game series Thursday. Riggleman left the Nationals because of a contract dispute.

That appeared to close the book of Riggleman's big league managing and coaching career. But he joined the Reds organization in 2012, first as manager at Double-A Pensacola, and he then spent the 2013-14 seasons managing Triple-A Louisville.

In 2015, Riggleman returned to the Majors as then-manager Bryan Price's third-base coach. He moved over to bench coach in 2016 and replaced Price on April 19. During the past two seasons, he returned to Nationals Park as a coach, but coming back as a manager for the first time will be more prominent.

"I hadn't really thought about it much," Riggleman said. "When I left there, I knew there was slim chances I was going to manage again. To get the opportunity to manage again is a thrill. There's a wet blanket on it because Bryan got let go. That's the downside. There was 29 clubs I'd like to manage. I didn't want it to be Cincinnati because that means things weren't going well here for Bryan. That being said, I love managing. It was a long shot that I was going to manage again after leaving Washington."

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.

Cincinnati Reds, Preston Tucker