Aquino's role in OF 'will work itself out'

June 13th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Now that outfielder is back on the Reds' roster after being activated from the 10-day injured list on Sunday, the fundamental question is easy. Where does Aquino fit for playing time?

Aquino is primarily a corner outfielder, but Cincinnati has two of the best hitters in baseball in Nick Castellanos (right field) and Jesse Winker (left field). Tyler Naquin has emerged as the primary center fielder and leads the team in RBIs.

“He’s handled the role before. But I always see it as ‘it will work itself out.’ He has to stay ready,” manager David Bell said of Aquino. “There’s days he will get starts. I haven’t made a lineup for the next couple days, but we have a couple left-handers coming up. He might get a start there. He’ll come off the bench a lot. He’s going to get big at-bats off the bench if he’s not starting games.

"He can run, he’s a good defender. That makes it easier to get him in. We have such a long way to go that things will happen and he’ll get his opportunity.”

During his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville, Aquino was 5-for-19 (.263) with one home run, two doubles and five RBIs in six games. He played right field in four games, center field in one on Friday and was the designated hitter once.

Aquino, 27, fractured the hamate bone in his right hand and went on the injured list on April 13. He had surgery to repair the injury and was moved to the 60-day IL on April 25.

“It’s been a long time, and I know he’s been very anxious to get back,” Bell said. “I think it’s good that he got a lot of playing time. He should be able to hit the ground running when he gets here. We definitely didn’t rush it, and he’s healthy and ready to go. I definitely think he can add a lot to our team. We’ve seen it. We’re all comfortable with him. He knows the team well. It’ll be a great transition.”

Other moves

To make room on the 26-man roster for Aquino, the Reds optioned outfielder Mark Payton to Louisville. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, center fielder Nick Senzel (left knee surgery) was transferred to the 60-day IL.