“I’ve been asked that question a lot about Mesoraco playing first base,” Price said. “How much would he play? Only if (Joey) Votto was injured. Realistically, I see him as a Yadier Moilina-type guy, who is going to catch 145 games a year, more so than I see him catching 110 a year and playing 20 or 30 at first base.
“It stood out more last year because I linked up Johnny Cueto with (Brayan) Pena catching. I anticipate Mesoraco catching a lot more games this year, especially if he stays healthy. We won’t pair Pena with Cueto as much. Devin did a real nice job with Johnny the times he caught him.”
"That's definitely taken some hits away from me," Bruce said. "I don't use it as an excuse. But the bottom line is it takes hits away. You smoke a ball up the middle and you think it's a hit. But the shortstop is playing right behind second base.
"It's definitely cut down on average. You look at a player like Mark Teixiera. He was a .300, .280 hitter. You put the shift on him. He's a guy who drives the ball, pull hitter. He uses the other side of the field some. But guys like that are hitting in the .250s."
"Everyone's like, 'Hit a ground ball to shortstop or hit one down the line.' Like you can do whatever you want." he said. "A lot of times, pitchers pitch to the shift. And shifts are getting more sophisticated. In New York, (shortstop Derek) Jeter was playing third, in on the grass. So you can't bunt. Ideally, you want to get a hit. It's hard to do."
Reds hitting coach Don Long said eventually hitters will be taught in the minors to beat the shift.
"Not everybody's going to be the perfect hitter and be able to do everything," he said. "But I think you're going to find guys who want to have the ability to hit to both sides of the field."
Mesoraco was a first-time All-Star in 2014, when he hit .273 with 25 doubles, 25 home runs and 80 RBI in 114 games. He has a career .245/.315/.432/.747 slash line in 289 games.
"We're working a lot on bunting and making contact," Hamilton said Thursday. "I struck out way too much."
Hamilton did not play in winter ball for the first time as a pro. He said the focus this offseason has been on strength and conditioning.
Hamilton hit .250 as a rookie in 2014, but he hit .285 before the All-Star break and .200 after it.
"All we can do is speculate that his second half of the season was just getting used to playing in the bigs for the full season," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I certainly think strength certainly February through October is important. Getting stronger, getting re-acquainted with acumen for bunting, getting more balls hit on the ground, more hard line drives, instead of balls in the air."
"We don't want to be giving away jobs on our ballclub in January," Price said.
Cingrani missed the final few months of the 2014 season due to a shoulder strain. He is 9-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 39 outings (29 starts) in his MLB career.
|2014 Team Leaders|
|AVG||Todd Frazier , 3B||.273|
|HR||Todd Frazier , 3B||29|
|RBI||Devin Mesoraco , C||80|
|OBP||Todd Frazier , 3B||.336|
|SLG||Todd Frazier , 3B||.459|
|R||Todd Frazier , 3B||88|
|SB||Billy Hamilton , CF||56|
|W||Johnny Cueto , SP||20|
|ERA||Johnny Cueto , SP||2.25|
|WHIP||Johnny Cueto , SP||0.96|
|K||Johnny Cueto , SP||242|
|SV||Aroldis Chapman , RP||36|
|Full Team Statistics|
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