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Will Senzel be next phenom to debut?

Reds want top prospect to be fully ready before promotion; Hughes happy to stretch limits
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The Braves made big news on Wednesday by calling up left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., their No. 1 prospect and the second-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. For those who follow the Reds, it raises the question: When will it be time for infielder Nick Senzel to be called up from Triple-A Louisville?

Senzel is the Reds' top prospect and No. 7 overall, and general manager Dick Williams has noted that the club wants to make sure the 22 year old is fully ready when he does get the call. Williams also wants the promotion to be dictated by performance and not big league club need.

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CINCINNATI -- The Braves made big news on Wednesday by calling up left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., their No. 1 prospect and the second-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. For those who follow the Reds, it raises the question: When will it be time for infielder Nick Senzel to be called up from Triple-A Louisville?

Senzel is the Reds' top prospect and No. 7 overall, and general manager Dick Williams has noted that the club wants to make sure the 22 year old is fully ready when he does get the call. Williams also wants the promotion to be dictated by performance and not big league club need.

View Full Game Coverage

"For me, I'd just listen to [player development director] Jeff Graupe, his staff," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Right now, [manager] Dickie Schofield and [hitting coach] Leon Durham are down there with him. They can give you a lot of information about how close he is and all that. Certainly, necessity will create certain things. Assuming everyone's healthy and all that, it gives you a chance to let the people dealing with it to make the decision."

Riggleman has had Senzel's first Louisville manager, Pat Kelly, as his bench coach since Cincinnati replaced Bryan Price last week. But Riggleman said he didn't ask Kelly about how Senzel was playing.

"I see reports. I cherish the opportunity to manage the 25 I have," Riggleman said. "If the decision is made to bring on someone else, that's great. If not, I don't want to interfere with Dick and [front office members] Sam [Grossman] and Billy Doran, Jeff Graupe, what their schedule is for Nick."

Senzel has mostly played second base for Louisville this season, along with his natural position of third base. He went 0-for-4 Tuesday afternoon and is batting .231/.315/.338 in 16 games. Acuna, 20, had similar numbers for Triple-A Gwinnett before he was given his much-anticipated promotion.

While Riggleman, who spent a large part of his coaching career in player development -- including 2012-15 with the Reds -- believes in getting input from a player's Minor League manager and trusting his opinion on a callup.

"Do you have a magic point there to get it just right? Certainly, not always," Riggleman said. "I remember Keith Hernandez, a great prospect in the Cardinals' organization. He went up and hit about .170. They sent him back. The next time up, he took off. It's not an exact science."

Hughes, Riggleman not concerned about stretching limits
During Tuesday's 9-7 win over Atlanta in 12 innings, reliever Jared Hughes threw 42 pitches over the final 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the victory. It was his longest outing since he threw three innings for the Pirates against the Cubs on July 9, 2016.

Video: ATL@CIN: Hughes gets Swanson looking to escape jam

Before Hughes, Riggleman used Amir Garrett for 2 1/3 innings. Garrett gave up three runs in the ninth before the game went into extras. Although he didn't expect to emulate what managers did in the last couple of postseasons -- such as the Indians with Andrew Miller and the Dodgers with Kenley Jansen -- the new Reds skipper is showing he doesn't worry about extending his relievers.

"What Jared did last night, that used to be fairly routine. I know it's not routine anymore and I'm taking him out of his comfort level," Riggleman said. "I think we can raise the bar a little bit about how much more we can get out of guys. This thing of 65 innings for a reliever and that's enough -- you wished that's all you needed because your starters are going that far, but I think we can get a lot more out of them. We don't want to get anybody hurt. But it looks like, to me, that they all get hurt anyway."

Hughes, who was signed to a two-year contract during the offseason, didn't mind stretching his usual limits.

"You look at my track record, it was definitely a different thing for me," Hughes said on Wednesday. "But it's only different in recent memory. When I first got called up and later in the Minors, I threw long relief. I was a starter at times. I was a swing guy in Double-A. I have a history of knowing how to handle it. But for me, it's always just about forcing contact and keeping the pitch count down."

UMPS Care Auction
Major League Baseball umpires will offer up more than 300 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 10 p.m. ET on Monday, April 30. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos and baseballs from some of the biggest stars in baseball. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year, thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world, we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said Gary Darling, former MLB umpire and Board President for UMPS CARE Charities. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

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

Cincinnati Reds, Jared Hughes