6/26/2014 9:07 P.M. ET
Hamilton could be intriguing All-Star pick
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Center fielder Billy Hamilton isn't among the top 15 when it comes to fan balloting for outfielders seeking election to the National League All-Star team. But although he lacks the typical offensive numbers of All-Stars, his unique skill set of speed would make him an intriguing pick. He ranks second in the league in steals (31 entering Thursday) and leads all NL rookies in hits and runs scored.
If there's a one-run game to be decided, Hamilton could do it with his legs on the basepaths.
"If you're trying to put your best team together in the game, then you'd take the pieces that would help you win the game off the bench. It might be a guy like that," manager Bryan Price said earlier this month.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Show of force keeps Mesoraco in fourth
SAN FRANCISCO -- Second baseman Brandon Phillips was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing three games with a bruised right heel, but not in his usual fourth spot.
Hot-hitting catcher Devin Mesoraco, who batted cleanup while Phillips was out, remained there, and Phillips was dropped to fifth.
"Brandon just missed three games and Devin is becoming the prototype No. 4 hitter, with the power and run production," manager Bryan Price said. "I still like Brandon there in the middle, because he gives you a good at-bat, and he does a lot of good things for us."
Mesoraco saw his five-game homer streak end during Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Cubs, but entered Thursday with an eight-game hitting streak. He already has a career high for home runs (14) despite two stints on the disabled list.
"That's where you want to have your most productive hitters grouped together, so you can get some runs when you go through that part of the order," Mesoraco said of batting fourth. "I feel like we have an awesome lineup. Everybody is starting to swing the bat well. For me to be right there in the middle, it's very special. Hopefully, I can keep producing."
As for the end of his homer streak, Mesoraco admitted that it was on his mind during Wednesday's game.
"It's not like a hitting streak, where you can get one of those every night," he said. "You know fairly soon it's going to come to an end."
Cingrani placed on Triple-A disabled list
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Reds were a little surprised on Thursday when left-hander Tony Cingrani had to be put on the disabled list by Triple-A Louisville because of a strained shoulder.
Cingrani, who was sent down last Friday, spent May 1-18 on the DL with the Reds because of mild tendinitis in the shoulder, but he hadn't needed any treatment since returning.
"It was kind of news to us when he got down there and had the shoulder issue," manager Bryan Price said.
Cingrani hasn't always been forthcoming with injuries, as shown last season, when he didn't disclose a back injury for a couple of weeks before going on the DL in August.
Moved to the bullpen shortly before his demotion, Cingrani was 2-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 13 games -- including 11 starts -- for the Reds before being sent to Louisville to get back his command. He had yet to pitch for the Bats.
"If there's an issue with his shoulder, we'd certainly like to rectify it and get him back to throwing the ball the way he can, because he could really help us," Price said.
Though wearing road uni, Price at home in SF
SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bryan Price is particularly enjoying this part of the team's road trip, as it takes him back to his hometown.
Price grew up in nearby Mill Valley, Calif., and though he's been here as a pitching coach, this was his first time in San Francisco as a manager. He spends his offseasons living in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I grew up watching the Giants and going out to Candlestick Park, being a huge fan," Price said on Thursday. "Coming back here, a lot of family and friends come to the ballpark. Unfortunately, most of my friends come in Giants gear, so I'm not getting the support I was expecting to get."
Because the Reds arrived late from Chicago on Wednesday night, there was little opportunity for Price to enjoy being home. He plans to visit his mother and sisters this weekend.
"My mom lives just over the Golden Gate [Bridge], so we're going to go over there tomorrow morning, have breakfast, run around at home and do all that stuff," he said. "It will be great."