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Reds sign Gallardo to one-year deal

Club likes right-hander's veteran presence; Price shuffles outfield
Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Scooter Gennett made sure to jokingly warn people that his old/new teammate, Yovani Gallardo, "isn't as old as he looks."

The Reds hope Gallardo is old enough to lend some guidance to their youthful pitching staff, as well as provide effective relief innings.

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CINCINNATI -- Scooter Gennett made sure to jokingly warn people that his old/new teammate, Yovani Gallardo, "isn't as old as he looks."

The Reds hope Gallardo is old enough to lend some guidance to their youthful pitching staff, as well as provide effective relief innings.

View Full Game Coverage

Cincinnati signed the 32-year-old right-handed free agent to a one-year contract on Saturday. To make room on the active roster, right-hander Zack Weiss was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Stuart Turner was designated for assignment.

"He's surprisingly young -- maybe it's the gray hair," Gennett said with a sly smile, before adding with a bit more seriousness, "I'm happy to have him over here. I told him to come play with me again. He's a great guy. He's been around for a while. He gets it. He'll help out where you needed it."

The Reds second baseman was Gallardo's teammate for 1 1/2 seasons in Milwaukee, where Gallardo pitched for the first eight years of his career before spending the last three in the American League. Gallardo relished the chance to get back to the National League, where he was a 2010 All-Star, and to the familiar Central Division.

"I'm comfortable in this ballpark," he said before Saturday's game.

A .202 career hitter with 12 home runs and 42 runs batted in, Gallardo added that he prefers the NL over the AL.

"I enjoy hitting," he said. "I haven't done it in a couple of years, so I might start out in the left-handed batter's box by mistake."

Gallardo is 113-93 with a 3.93 career earned-run average over 298 appearances, all but nine of which have been starts. He was 5-10 with a 5.72 ERA in 28 games, including 22 starts, last season with Seattle, his third AL team in three cities. He spent most of Spring Training with Milwaukee before the Brewers released him on Monday.

"Our scouts liked what they saw, especially in shorter stints -- 1-3 innings," manager Bryan Price said, noting that he wasn't sure when Gallardo would be available, since he hadn't thrown since March 23.

"We'll probably use him for no more than three innings. To have another pitcher with experience is appealing. We've been trying to get a more veteran appeal for our bench, and we're trying to get a more veteran feel for our bullpen.

"He's unflappable. He never shows much emotion on the mound -- and he can swing the bat. He's a pro. We got great feedback on him from a competitive standpoint."

Gallardo was looking forward to taking on a leadership role.

"I'm excited," he said. "There's a lot of young talent here. I'm excited to help out any way I can. I'm up for anything."

Video: CIN@TEX: Duvall smacks a solo homer to center

Outfield rotation
Game Two of Cincinnati's 2018 season saw a different outfield deployment than Game One, part of Price's rotation.

Billy Hamilton, 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as Cincinnati's center fielder and No. 9 batter in Friday's 2-0 Opening Day loss, got Saturday off. Scott Schebler, Friday's right fielder, shifted over to center and Jesse Winker, Friday's left fielder and leadoff batter, moved to right with Adam Duvall making his first start of the season in left. Winker stayed at the top of the order.

"Part of it is matchups," Price said. "Part of it is simply rotation stuff."

Price has maintained that he believes the Reds have four outfielders capable of playing regularly and he intends to play them as much as possible.

Worth noting
• Friday's opener was the first in Great American Ball Park's 16-year history that a home run wasn't hit on Opening Day. The previous 15 openers each included at least one home run. What makes Friday's game even more unusual is Reds pitchers tied a club record for home runs allowed in a series of four or fewer games when they yielded 13 to the Nationals in a four-game series last July.

•Joey Votto needs four walks to reach 1,000 for his career. Votto has agreed to donate his batting helmet to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Reds on Saturday.

Cincinnati Reds, Yovani Gallardo