The Reds view Winker as major-league ready and plan to use a four-man rotation in the outfield this season, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Zach Buchanan reports. "I believe he's a major-league-ready player," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Some guys have to prove me wrong and others have to prove me right. I just really believe he is ready to get some regular playing time in the big leagues."
Winker has strong on-base skills but had frustrated the Reds by his inability to hit for power in the high minors, but then slugged .487 in his brief big-league trial last season. The Reds had dabbled in trade talks regarding Billy Hamilton during the offseason but nothing came to fruition. That still could come back up midseason, opening the door for regular time for Winker.
Winker is not in the lineup against the Red Sox on Friday, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports.
Winker will get the day off following six straight starts, including a 2-for-5 day at the plate, with a double, during Thursday's loss to St. Louis. In his place, Scott Schebler will take over in right for the series opener.
Winker went 1-for-4 with a solo homer Saturday against the Pirates.
Winker broke open a scoreless tie in the seventh inning when he launched his sixth home run of the campaign off Ivan Nova to help lead the Reds to a home victory. Although he's hit two home runs over his last five games, he's collected just three hits during that span and his low batting average is difficult to trade off for his power potential.
Winker went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Wednesday's 6-0 win over the Cardinals.
His leadoff shot proved to be the only run the Reds pitching staff would need. After hitting only five home runs in 191 games for Triple-A Louisville over the last two seasons, Winker has now matched that total in his first 32 big-league games.
Winker will start in right field and lead off Tuesday against the Cardinals.
By successfully running the bases again Saturday, Winker passed the final test necessary to return from a hip injury. He will slot in atop the order in his first start back, as Scott Schebler moves to center to open a spot for Winker in right. This could be the new norm for Cincinnati with Billy Hamilton (thumb) on the DL. Winker has displayed strong plate skills and surprising pop during his time with the big club, and with regular playing time, he should be useful in most mixed leagues.
|10/1/2017 vs Chicago|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2014||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||21||77||15||16||5||0||2||8||14||22||0||0||.326||.351||.208|
|2015||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||123||443||69||125||24||2||13||55||74||83||8||4||.390||.433||.282|