CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price promised before Spring Training that a four-man outfield rotation for the three spots would be used. Price also indicated that speedy Billy Hamilton might not always be featured in his customary leadoff spot.Both situations came to fruition on Opening Day against the Nationals on
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price promised before Spring Training that a four-man outfield rotation for the three spots would be used. Price also indicated that speedy Billy Hamilton might not always be featured in his customary leadoff spot.
Both situations came to fruition on Opening Day against the Nationals on Friday. Left fielder Adam Duvall was on the bench and Hamilton batted ninth, while Jesse Winker was the leadoff hitter and in left field. Expect lineup fluidity for the other 161 games, too.
"This isn't a spot he's going to fill for the rest of the year," Price said of Hamilton. "There will be matchups where I like Billy more at the top of the lineup than at the bottom. For today and this matchup, hitting ninth is fine. Another thing we talked about is he's fully aware of how he's used this year."
Hamilton batted .170 during Spring Training and entered the season with a .298 career on-base percentage while mostly batting at the top spot.
"I feel like it doesn't matter where I hit. I definitely want to get back up to one," Hamilton said. "I have to earn that spot again. It's not going to be given to me. I'm a guy who takes on challenges."
Hamilton started 59 games in 2015 as the No. 9 hitter, and he prefers to bat there rather than in the eighth spot ahead of the pitcher.
"If I'm in the ninth hole, now I can steal, now I can do what I want to do," Hamilton said. "If you hit eighth, the pitcher has to bunt you over, then I'm not able to use what I can do on the bases."
Price doesn't expect that Hamilton's spot in the lineup will always be first or ninth.
"There could be other circumstances where maybe he hits second," Price said. "Those are all exploratory-type circumstances."
Duvall given advance notice
Before making his lineup public, Price had already spoken one on one with Duvall during Thursday's workout and notified him he would not be starting. It was a tough decision for Price, especially since Duvall has hit 30-plus homers in each of the past two seasons.
"Because I didn't want him to show up and look at the lineup and see he's not in it," Price said. "This is a guy who has been really good for our team, and me as manager in the way he goes about his business. This isn't an indictment. It has nothing to do with Adam as much as it's I've got four guys that are going to play. Now I'm going to try to pick the best situations."
Each game going forward, someone among Duvall, Winker, Hamilton and Scott Schebler will have to sit.
"You want to have the good matchups, but you also have four guys who I think are regular outfielders," Price said. "I'm not going to have anybody sitting on the bench for three, four or five days in a row. We'll keep these guys in the mix. We've got four really good outfielders and another young kid in [Phillip] Ervin."
Rookies' first Opening Day
The Reds' Opening Day roster carries five rookies in Winker, Ervin and pitchers Tyler Mahle, Jackson Stephens and Zack Weiss. Only Weiss didn't spend any time in the big leagues last season.
Winker was excited to take it all in, especially since Cincinnati has the tradition of being baseball's oldest professional team.
"I heard it's the best Opening Day in baseball. That's what everybody has told me," Winker said.
Although not a rookie, reliever Jared Hughes was thrilled to be part of his first Reds Opening Day. As a free agent, Hughes signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract in December.
"I was here one year for it," Hughes said. "It is the best Opening Day in baseball. This is where it all began back in the day, in my opinion. It's where it should all begin every year."
Major League Baseball notified teams of the official pools for Draft and international spending in 2018 on Wednesday. For the 2018 Draft, the Reds have an allotted pool figure of $10,887,600, and $5,946,400 for the fifth overall selection.
The international signing period begins July 2, and the Reds are among six clubs with the highest pool allotment -- $6,025,400.
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.