Negron looking to make strong push for utility role
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds utility player Kristopher Negron doesn't hit many home runs, but he doesn't take the time to admire them when he does clear the fences. For example, his July 21 homer vs. the Brewers was timed at a robust 16.18 seconds by the website, TaterTotTracker.com.
Negron plans to keep running hard after he hits homers.
"Absolutely. I don't know any other way," Negron said on Monday. That's the only way I know how to play. That, I promise you, will never change."
Negron, 29, is seeking to make the Reds' 25-man roster with a bench role, but he certainly helped his cause by being a pleasant surprise in 2014. Although he batted .302 in camp last year, he began the year at Triple-A Louisville. But he was called up on July 10 when Brandon Phillips went on the disabled list and never went back.
In 49 games for the Reds, Negron batted .271/.331/.479 with six homers and 17 RBIs. He made 36 starts at three positions -- second base, third base and shortstop. He can also play all three outfield spots.
"I think it would have been a bigger surprise had he not had such a great Spring Training for us," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He played multiple positions and he swung the bat as well as we had seen Kris swing the bat. Then he got off to a terribly slow start in Triple-A and bounced back. When he came back up, he took advantage of his opportunity. He's probably one of the last guys on that list that I would think would ever take anything for granted."
Negron may play several positions but only uses two gloves -- one for the infield and one for the outfield. He doesn't have a preferred position.
"Everywhere," he replied. "It doesn't matter one bit. Home sweet home is just on the field.
"I'm still going to take advantage of every opportunity that I am given. It's the same exact mindset. Any opportunity to be on the field, any playing time, I'm going to try and take advantage of it and help the team any way I can. That's been my role my entire life. I look forward to it."