Heisey hits DL; Lutz earns first MLB promotion
ST. LOUIS -- The Reds placed left fielder Chris Heisey on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a strained right hamstring and recalled outfielder Donald Lutz from Double-A Pensacola.
This is his first promotion to the Majors for the 24-year-old Lutz, who hails from Germany. He was given the news by Pensacola manager Delino DeShields.
"It was amazing. I just gave him a big hug," Lutz said. "The emotions kind of kicked in after I talked on the phone to my mom back in Germany."
The left-handed-power-hitting Lutz batted .211 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 21 games for Pensacola, but he impressed manager Dusty Baker during Spring Training, when he batted .277 with two homers.
"He brings a lot of energy. He has a ton of talent," Baker said. "He struggled some down there. I said to him, 'It was a great opportunity. It's not like you really earned this spot.' He was the next guy on the roster that I was hoping would be doing well."
Baker believes Lutz has a chance to start over and learn a lot.
"You don't see many guys promoted to the big leagues hitting .211," he said, "but anybody can get off to a bad start, too."
Lutz was actually born in Watertown, N.Y., but grew up in his mother's native Germany. Originally a hockey player, he didn't pick up baseball until he was a teenager. He is a product of Major League Baseball's European Academy and will be the first German to play in the modern big leagues upon his debut.
As for a cheering section, Lutz's girlfriend, brother and some friends are making plans to go to Cincinnati. His mother is tending to his ailing great-grandmother and isn't sure of her travel plans.
"Everyone is trying to come over. It's amazing," Lutz said. "My phone was blowing up. All of Germany, everybody, is behind me. It's a really good feeling."
Heisey was injured on Saturday running to first base as he grounded into a double play. He has struggled in replacing the injured Ryan Ludwick as the regular left fielder and is batting .173 with two home runs and five RBIs in 23 games.
Not quite a month into the 2013 season, Heisey is already the seventh player from the Reds' 25-man roster to be placed on the DL. Xavier Paul is likely to get a majority of starts in left field, but Baker said thatg rookie Derrick Robinson would start on Tuesday when the Reds need stronger outfield defense with Bronson Arroyo pitching.