Hamilton has already hit off a tee, played catch and feels pain-free. But he was not cleared to take batting practice on the field Tuesday like he had hoped. He was under the impression he could be activated Wednesday.
"I don't know what to do. I feel like I'm ready," Hamilton said. "I feel like I am pain-free. I want to be out there with my team. I feel like it's still a step behind, especially when you feel like you're ready to go."
Hamilton fractured his thumb Sept. 6 while trying to bunt vs. the Brewers and was placed on the 10-day DL. His thumb was put in a brace for 10 days, with no baseball activity permitted. Reds manager Bryan Price said the club is considering activating Hamilton specifically to be a pinch-runner until he's cleared to hit.
"I'd say it's more of a probability than a possibility at this point," Price said. "We've all talked about it. I want to talk to Billy about it and make sure we're all on board. I don't think the first time you see him activated is when he's starting in center field. He'll be able to help us in other ways prior to that."
September injuries have plagued Hamilton, and they have cost him multiple stolen-base crowns. His 58 steals in 2017 lead the Majors, but Miami's Dee Gordon entered the night three behind at 55.
Hamilton missed the final 27 games of last season after he suffered a strained left oblique. He didn't play the final week in 2015 because he needed shoulder surgery, and he missed the final four games of '14 with a concussion after running into a wall.
"Ever since I've been here, I haven't finished one season. It's important to get out there and finish the season strong," Hamilton said.
Hamilton understands there likely will be pain in his thumb from bat vibration if he makes contact in game situations. He's prepared for that.
"I know for a fact I'm going to be hurting. Just give me a chance," Hamilton said. "I'm telling you this right now. If a week passes [without playing], I'm just going to say 'I'm done.' There's no point in me coming back for just three games. I'm ready to play now. I want to play now. We'll see how it goes."
• Third baseman Eugenio Suarez was not with the club on Tuesday because he was at the hospital with his wife awaiting the arrival of their first baby.
• Infielder D.J. Peterson, who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox on Sunday, cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville.
• The Reds Community Fund announced that the 13th annual CBTS Marty Brennaman Golf Classic at Belterra Casino Resort raised $185,000 on Sunday and Monday for the charitable organization that supports youth baseball and softball outreach initiatives. Brennaman's event has raised about $2.7 million since its inception in 2005.