CINCINNATI -- In his first day of Spring Training with the Reds, Scott Schebler couldn't help but be a little star struck when All-Star outfielder Jay Bruce pulled him aside and asked to play catch.
"He was my catch partner, and I'm a new guy coming in, kind of a scrub, and he's going to play catch with me?" Schebler said.
Now, Schebler will be asked to fill Bruce's spot in the lineup after he was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday as part of the aftermath of the trade that sent Bruce to the Mets for two prospects. Schebler immediately did his predecessor proud by making his second career home run a three-run walk-off blast in the bottom of the ninth to give the Reds a 7-5 win over the Cardinals.
Schebler will get an opportunity to play every day, slotting in left field, while Adam Duvall moves over to take Bruce's spot in right field. Duvall also went deep Tuesday, hitting a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, his 26th dinger of the season.
This isn't Schebler's first stint with the Reds this season. He broke Spring Training with the Major League club, but he struggled in limited playing time, hitting .188 while starting 14 of the Reds' first 31 games before being optioned to Triple-A.
While he got off to a slow start after the demotion, he ended up with a .311/.370/.564 slash line with 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 75 games with Louisville. In July, Schebler hit .359/.436/.689 with six homers and earned the International League Player of the Month award. The opportunity to get regular at-bats is something he thinks will help him maintain his success.
"Just getting those consistent at-bats and being able to grind through that, you can kind of fix things if you're getting at-bats every day." Schebler said. "You do something wrong, and then you can go fix it the next day and see if it's working. It was more so that and just, once I got hot, I stayed there."
Schebler was just one part of a flurry of roster moves, which included sending down highly regarded prospect José Peraza and selecting the contract of 25-year-old utility man Tony Renda.
Peraza had been with the Major League club since June 14, but he made just 17 starts in the Reds' 38 games since then. Sending Peraza down gives him a chance to get regular at-bats and to get comfortable playing shortstop next to 22-year-old second baseman Dilson Herrera, the centerpiece of the Bruce trade.
"It is a benefit for those guys to get to know each other," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I look at Jose more as a middle infielder than I see him as a center fielder or a left fielder, and he could've been plugged in and played regularly in the outfield, but I do believe that the long term looks a lot brighter for him as a middle infielder. I think it made more sense for him and Herrera to go and play together for a little bit."
Renda, the man replacing Peraza on the bench, is making his first appearance on a Major League roster, and he laid down a successful sacrifice bunt in his first plate appearance as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, loading the bases before that rally was thwarted.
Renda has experience at second base, shortstop, left field and right field, and he has hit .315 with 34 extra-base hits in 91 games between Louisville and Double-A Pensacola this season.
While Renda doesn't appear among the Reds' top prospects, Price said he doesn't expect Renda to remain a bench bat for the remainder of the season. Price would prefer that Renda doesn't stay with the Major League team for more than a few weeks without finding regular playing time.
"A lot of doubles, he runs well, plays with a lot of energy," Price said. "It'll be nice to have him and [Tyler] Holt on the same bench, because they both bring a lot of life and a lot of energy. I don't imagine Tony's quite as vocal as Tyler is, but we'll see. One of the things that especially our scouts had to say about Tony is it felt like he could handle coming off the bench and giving us a good, quality at-bat off the bench."