Gennett's perseverance pays off with big hit

Staying positive through frustrating funk, Reds' utility player delivers winning double in clutch

June 6th, 2017

CINCINNATI -- Some players will feign indifference when they are struggling at the plate. Reds utility player Scooter Gennett certainly wasn't thrilled to be in an 0-for-19 hitless stretch, and he didn't try to hide that. But Gennett also wasn't going to let that define his current existence on the club.

Gennett ended the second-longest hitting drought of his career Monday night, when he slashed a two-run double against lefty reliever for the game-winning runs in the Reds' 4-2 victory over the Cardinals.

"The more you play, the more you understand that those things are going to happen," Gennett said. "That's why it's important to do all of the other things right. Be a good teammate, be positive. Those things don't last forever. You understand it, embrace it. If it's not going 2-for-4, do what you can on the other side of the field, too."

Gennett's slump went into another gear the past three days as he filled in for the injured in right field. Heading into his clutch at-bat, he had struck out four times in his last 11 at-bats and grounded into a double play.

"He wants to help in the worst way," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We all benefit from the way he goes about his business and his desire to win. It means something to him to be successful in the role that he's in. That was big."

Gennett, a Cincinnati native and Lebanon, Ohio, resident until he was 9, was plucked off of waivers from the Brewers with one game remaining in Spring Training. While in Milwaukee, he was mostly a regular second baseman but had to pivot to a utility role with the Reds.

Of his 46 games played, Gennett started 20 times at five different spots -- second base, third base, left field, right field and designated hitter. The 27-year-old has grown more comfortable as the season continues.

"I never shagged [flies] during batting practice in the outfield. I always took balls live," he said. "I kind of wished I went out there and shagged a little bit. It's getting more normal. That will only continue. Changing a position is definitely something I've never really thought of or appreciated much when guys do play that utility role. It's very hard. That's why it's very important to get that utility work in and really focus on getting work in at every position and not sitting back, just going out there and like, 'whatever.'"

In the seventh on Monday, the Reds had just tied the game at 2 on 's two-run double against Cardinals ace . Gennett was up next, and St. Louis countered with Siegrist to face the lefty-hitting Gennett, who was 3-for-8 with two doubles against him entering the at-bat.

Gennett eased his hit near the right-field foul line toward the corner.

"It was nice to get that hit in that situation," Gennett said. "The game is pretty crazy at times. You can hit the ball hard and not get results, or you can hit the ball soft like I did there and get a double."