Suarez an injury replacement once again
Shortstop takes over for Cozart in Reds' lineup
CHICAGO -- One year ago, when Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias was deemed out for the remainder of the season, shortstop Eugenio Suarez was called up in June and started the remainder of the season.
And after Reds shortstop Zack Cozart was ruled out for the season with a knee injury Wednesday afternoon, Suarez was once again thrown into the action. On Thursday, Cincinnati recalled Suarez, 23, from Triple-A Louisville to be a regular starter in Cozart's place on an injury-riddled team.
"He'll play a lot, no doubt about it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We wouldn't have had Suarez here if we anticipated him filling a bench role. He's a young guy that needs to play, and play regularly. I would anticipate him getting the bulk of the opportunities at short."
Added Suarez: "I'm happy right now, excited because I have this opportunity. I just want to play every day. That's what I do and will do."
Suarez, along with right-handed pitching prospect Jonathan Crawford, was acquired in a trade with Detroit for Alfredo Simon during the offseason. He hit .242 with 23 RBIs and four home runs while posting a .316 on-base percentage in 277 plate appearances for the 2014 American League Central Division winners.
In 203 at-bats with Louisville, Suarez held a .256 batting average, adding 25 RBIs and eight home runs with a .348 on-base percentage. He hit seventh in the Reds' lineup on Thursday in the series opener against the Cubs.
"He has gap-to-gap power as a young hitter, so I expect him, at times, to look like a young hitter," Price said. "But we went out and got him because we felt like he can play that position every day if need be. We're really impressed with him, and he's a very good player."
But Suarez's defense has been of more concern than his hitting. Last season, Suarez made 10 errors in 83 games. This year, he made 11 errors in 55 games at the Triple-A level.
Price said his first expectation is that Suarez will defend well, though. Suarez feels more comfortable in his ability to defend after working on it at Louisville.
"It's going to [benefit] a lot because I have more experience," Suarez said. "Right now, I feel relaxed because I know how I can play in the field."
The Reds also called up Chris Dominguez on Thursday while optioning right-handed reliever Pedro Villarreal to Louisville. Dominguez started in left field and batted sixth against the Cubs, hitting a solo home run off Tsuyoshi Wada in the fourth inning.