Friday, August 30, 2013

Billy Hamilton to be among several September call-ups

One of the most prolific base stealers in professional baseball will be wearing a Reds uniform when the team welcomes the Cardinals to town for a four-game series at Great American Ball Park on Monday.

That base stealer is none other than fleet-footed outfielder Billy Hamilton, who is expected to be one of many players promoted to the big club when rosters expand on Monday.

“I think it helps any young player who you think has a future as bright as he does to get up here and experience the speed of the game and what it takes to play up here,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “Any experience you can give him helps.”

Hamilton is widely regarded as the top prospect in the organization. However, the Mississippi native hasn't exactly performed like the top prospect this season.

The 22-year-old is sporting a slash line of just .256/.308/.344 with Triple-A Louisville. But he is 75-for-90 in the stolen base department and is hitting a modest .284 since the All-Star Break.

You may remember Hamilton swiping a record-setting 155 bases in split time between Single-A and Double-A in 2012.

Hamilton won't likely play a major role for the Reds in December, but it doesn't mean he won't be valuable. His speed may be something Dusty Baker turns to for pinch-running opportunities in late inning of games.

Hamilton isn't the only minor leaguer set to get a call-up, though. Infielder Henry Rodriguez, outfielder Derrick Robinson, and right-hander Curtis Partch are expected to join the team Sunday for the series finale in Colorado.

On Monday, catcher Corky Miller and infielder Neftali Soto will join the Reds in Cincinnati along with Hamilton.

Before Friday's game, the Reds made another move, bringing up veteran southpaw Zach Duke from Louisville. To make room for Duke on the 40-man roster, the Reds optioned right-hander Nick Christiani, and designated right-hander Justin Freeman for assignment.

Duke started the year with the Nationals and was released midseason after posting an 8.71 ERA in 12 games. The Reds signed him to a minor league contract and he proceeded to post a tidy 1.30 ERA in 26 games in Triple-A. Duke spent the first six seasons of his career as member of the Pirates where he went 45-70 with a 4.54 ERA as a starter. He was once considered one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in the game.

As for Christiani, don't feel too bad for him. The young reliever will rejoin the Reds when the rosters expand at the end of this weekend.

Via Cincinnati Enquirer

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