Winker hits first career homer after callup

Prospect to get regular ABs; Ervin called up as Schebler deals with shoulder inflammation on DL

August 1st, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- As predictable as the dugout silent treatment has become after a first big league home run, Reds rookie right fielder had an unpredictable response after his. Seeming to anticipate his teammates' reaction, Winker just had his own celebration.

The Reds were already well on their way to a 9-1 victory over the Pirates on Tuesday night when Winker slugged an 0-1 curveball to center field for a 421-foot solo homer in the fourth inning. Ignored in the dugout, Winker mimed some high-fives and fist bumps before doing an air chest-bump.

"I kind of just came in and went for it. It was a really cool moment, and it was fun to be part of a win, too," Winker said.

Tuesday marked the fourth time this season that Winker was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. He took the roster spot opened by the trade of reliever Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers on Monday.

But this promotion is different than the previous three. This time, Winker will get a real opportunity to play -- especially in the interim. Late Tuesday afternoon, the Reds also placed right fielder on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation and recalled from Louisville. Schebler will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, which could dictate his timetable for a return.

Reds manager Bryan Price started Winker -- ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Reds' No. 6 prospect -- in right field in Tuesday's series opener vs. the Pirates and planned to give him regular at-bats, even after Schebler returns.

"It's huge. It's something you wait for ever since you're a kid, the opportunity to play in the big leagues and get the opportunity to show that you belong and can help contribute," Winker said.

Price had hinted since last week that Winker's time was coming, especially as Schebler struggled while batting .136 in July and .077 since the All-Star break. Schebler initially hurt his shoulder while trying to make a diving catch in June vs. the Cardinals.

"Unfortunately, based on where we are in the standings, we're in a position to have an opportunity to look at some of the other players we have in the system," Price said before the Schebler news was announced.

The lefty-hitting Winker was leading the International League with a .314 average and .395 on-base percentage. He was 4-for-16 for the Reds in his previous callups.

Winker, who had two home runs and 41 RBIs in 85 games at Louisville, almost equaled his homer total for the year in one night. In the fifth, an opposite-field drive was caught because of 's fantastic reach over the wall. Winker has heard the complaints he lacks power but doesn't fret.

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"To me, I think hitting .300 is pretty solid. I just try to do that," he said. "I've always been a big fan of trying to win the batting title before the home run crown."

Winker can play both left field and right field. That will enable Price to create an outfield rotation of some sort upon Schebler's return.

"No one is a platoon player. In our situation, this is what you do," Price said. "You bring up your prospects, certainly in September, some of them earlier and you kind of get them in the mix. You don't bring them up to sit on the bench."

Worth noting

• Catcher tested his sore right knee in a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon. Mesoraco could be available to catch as soon as Wednesday.

• Starting pitcher , on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, rejoined the club on Tuesday. Feldman threw a bullpen session in Cincinnati on Saturday and will have another one Wednesday at PNC Park.

"I feel better now than I did before I went on the DL, for sure," Feldman said. "Hopefully it's not too much longer, but I don't have an exact time frame for you guys."

Feldman might have been a chip for the Reds to deal had he not been on the DL before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. If the veteran right-hander can return healthy, he could potentially be moved in an August trade, assuming he can clear waivers.

"I really like it here in Cincinnati. I'd love to stay here," Feldman said. "But whatever they decide to do, that's part of the job. You've got to go where they tell you."