Schebler homered in the first inning of Monday's spring training game against the Rockies' Kyle Freeland. He entered the game hitting hitting .412/.621/.647 this spring. To the extent that spring training stats matter for job battles, Schebler has done well to state his case. He's still battling Nick Senzel for the starting center field job, and he could still earn playing time otherwise in left field should Senzel start the year with the big club. That would mean that Jesse Winker sits, however, and manager David Bell said earlier that he wants Winker to get 450-plus at-bats.
Schebler will be among those competing for the Reds' starting center field job, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. "I'm interested to see him in center. Everyone I've talked to that has seen him, people are confident that he can do it," manager David Bell said. "I am, too, but it'll be a good opportunity to see him out there. I'm convinced he can be really good in left and right." An earlier report from John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer suggested that rookie Nick Senzel could be the leading candidate for the gig, but Schebler will certainly get a chance as well. It's also possible that Schebler will split time time in center and in a corner spot, with Yasiel Puig and Jesse Winker playing regularly.
The Reds intend to move Schebler from right field to left field in 2019, with Jesse Winker becoming the full-time right fielder, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. That Winker is going to play every day next season is hardly a surprise given his performance at the plate, but it is a bit of a surprise that he is taking over the slightly more demanding outfield position, given that Schebler is generally considered to be the better defensive outfielder.
Schebler is out of the lineup against the Cubs on Saturday. Schebler will head to the bench after going 1-for-5 during the series opener Friday. In his place, Brandon Dixon will man right field and bat eighth against left-hander Jon Lester.
Schebler is not starting Monday against the Dodgers. Schebler had started 15 straight games after returning from a shoulder injury in late August. He hit .250 with an .808 OPS over that stretch. Brandon Dixon gets the start in right field in his absence.