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Senzel flourishing, but no promotion in sight

No space on Reds' roster yet for top prospect; Bailey halts rehab assignment
June 15, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- There's long been an adage in baseball that if a player can hit, a team will find a place for him to play. Second baseman Nick Senzel, the Reds' top prospect, has been on an offensive tear for Triple-A Louisville lately, but there is no promotion imminent."We just

PITTSBURGH -- There's long been an adage in baseball that if a player can hit, a team will find a place for him to play. Second baseman Nick Senzel, the Reds' top prospect, has been on an offensive tear for Triple-A Louisville lately, but there is no promotion imminent.
"We just want to make sure he has a place to play," Reds general manager Nick Krall said on Friday. "He's been progressing well, and he's making good contact. We feel he's played well in Triple-A, especially since he's come back from the injury the past two weeks."
Ranked No. 5 overall by MLBPipeline, the 22-year-old Senzel has played well since he returned from missing nearly a month with symptoms of vertigo.
Over 15 games since being activated from the disabled list on May 29, Senzel has a .339/.412/.458 slash line with seven doubles, eight walks and 11 RBIs.
Louisville moved Senzel up to the leadoff spot for the first time over his past five games, and he's batted .522 (12-for-23). It's raised his overall slash line to .299/.376/.458 over 37 games.
"It allows him to get more at-bats," Krall said of Senzel batting at the top of the order. "You have to make up for some of that lost time that he had at the end of last year and the middle of this year."
At the big league level, the Reds have Scooter Gennett at second base and Eugenio Suarez at third base -- Senzel's natural position when he was taken No. 2 overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. Both players are having All-Star-caliber seasons, which makes it tough for Cincinnati to open up a spot.
Suarez was originally a shortstop, and Gennett has limited experience in left field. But Gennett has also been dealing with a sore right shoulder for much of the season that has affected his throwing.
The Reds have not gotten consistent hitting from their four-man outfield rotation this season. Could Senzel be an option for the outfield, namely in left field?
"I don't want to rule out anything, but he obviously hasn't played any outfield to this point," Krall said. "He's an athletic kid who already moved to second base pretty easily from third base. He's a good runner. He can do a lot of different things."
The other option would be to make a trade. Gennett, left fielder Adam Duvall or center fielder Billy Hamilton would seem to be the most available to be moved.
For now, Senzel will just keep playing for Louisville and wait for a call.
"He's probably close to being ready for the big leagues," Krall said. "We want to see him just continue to progress and continue to work on what it will take to be a regular big leaguer."

Bailey stops rehab assignment
Reds pitcher Homer Bailey's rehab assignment at Louisville has been put on hold because of continued right knee soreness. Bailey's scheduled start vs. Toledo on Saturday was scratched.
"This is his call. He pulled himself off of the rehab," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "It just wasn't feeling right. I'm not sure on what the details are. He wanted to stop the clock running on his rehab time. That's what we're going to do. He'll get back on it when he says he's feeling right."
In his only rehab game for Louisville on Monday, Bailey pitched three innings and gave up five earned runs and six hits over three innings with one walk and one strikeout. All five runs were scored in the third inning.
On June 1, following a demotion to the bullpen, Bailey went on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. He last started for the Reds on May 28, and he never worked in relief before the injury was revealed.
There was no immediate timetable for when Bailey might resume the rehab assignment.
"He'll have to be down for a minimum of seven days," Krall said. "We'll see how the treatment goes and see how it works out, and we'll go from there."

Hamilton's knee banged up
According to the Reds' outfield rotation, Hamilton was not scheduled to start on Friday vs. the Pirates, but there was also another reason he was out of the starting lineup. The center fielder hit his right knee hard into the wall while making a great running catch in the ninth inning on Wednesday vs. the Royals.
"If he's going to get a day off, it's a good one," Riggleman said. "He was banging around out there pretty good. I was going to give him one day off in this series, just to keep the other guys sharp. This would be the day. The next two after that, I'm not sure who will be out."
Hamilton has suffered varied injuries the past several years from trying to make spectacular defensive plays. Riggleman has no plans to have Hamilton dial his effort back.
"I never would do that," Riggleman said. "That's his tool to play defense and do things out there nobody else can do. We can't really have him not going as hard as he can. He's pretty aware. He's usually got a good clock in his head about how far that wall is. You've seen him put his foot on the wall and jump. But that one, he kind of banged his knee deep into the turf and/or the wall."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.