7/12/2014 8:02 P.M. ET
Hamilton racking up hits with relaxed approach
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- With a 3-for-5 performance in Friday night's 6-5 win over the Pirates, center fielder Billy Hamilton became the third Reds rookie over the past 60 years to register 10 games of at least three hits in his first 88 games of a season, joining Tommy Helms in 1966 and Joey Votto in 2008 (both also achieved the feat in 88 games).
"Me and [Ryan Ludwick] say every day, 'Just get one hit a game,' and then once you get another one, mentally it's about getting hits," Hamilton said. "You want to come in there relaxed in big situations. It's always good to get a hit in the first at-bat, and then you can be more relaxed during the rest of the game and definitely get more hits. It's all about that first at-bat."
In the all-important first at-bat in Friday's game, Hamilton got a hit, but one that couldn't have been more unorthodox. He pushed a bunt single up the first-base line against Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, which was fielded by first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who moved toward Hamilton for the tag.
But Hamilton made an incredibly acrobatic leap away from Sanchez, causing him to whiff on the tag. As Sanchez recovered his footing and tried to dive back toward the base for another tag attempt, Hamilton beat him there with a head-first slide.
"I've never done it before [on any level]," Hamilton said of the move. "It was a football move. It's just instincts, you've just got to make something happen. So the first thing that came to mind was just to juke."
Hamilton got the first walk-off hit of his career in Tuesday's 6-5 comeback win in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Cubs, and he said that as he finds himself in more pressure-filled situations while the season progresses, he is able to relax and produce better results at the plate.
"Coming through the Minor Leagues, I've always struggled with men in scoring position," Hamilton said. "I would think too much. And this year, coming up, I just told myself I'm going to relax and not worry about trying to do too much."
Not worrying about doing too much has led to Hamilton doing much more offensively than anyone could have hoped, particularly with men in scoring position. Going into Friday's game, he was batting .357 (25-for-70) in those situations.
Price: Votto to be sidelined weeks, not months
CINCINNATI -- Bryan Price didn't place a timetable on when injured first baseman Joey Votto (strained left distal quadriceps) would be back, but the Reds manager did narrow it down to a matter of weeks, not months.
"It's so far out, and when I say 'far out,' it's more weeks; I'm not talking about months and months and months," Price said. "But with both Brandon [Phillips] and Joey, we're talking more about weeks than days. So I think it would be reckless of me to suggest there's a due date on when either one of them would be back."
Votto went on the disabled list July 8 with the quad strain for the second time, after missing 23 games with the injury from May 21 to June 10. This season, he's posted a .255/.390/.409 line with 16 doubles, six home runs and 23 RBIs.
Phillips was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, incurred on a diving attempt at a ground ball in Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Cubs. He is expected to miss approximately six weeks.
Phillips is batting .272 with 19 doubles, seven homers and 40 RBIs.
Latos doesn't expect back spasms to linger
CINCINNATI -- Right-hander Mat Latos exited Friday night's 6-5 victory over the Pirates after five innings due to lower back spasms. He allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits, walking two and striking out five.
"We went and saw [Dr. Timothy Kremchek] early this morning, and it's a lot better than it was yesterday," Latos said Saturday. "It's still there, I still feel it, but ... I'm fine [for the next start] whenever it is."
"I think he's going to be fine," manager Bryan Price said. "There's been nothing to this point that suggests [Latos will miss his next start]. The other good thing, of course, is we've got two more games remaining, a four-day break, and then we can slot these guys in, one through five, coming out of the break based on how they're feeling. So we know there's a good chance they could be slid back to the back end of the rotation, both [Homer Bailey and Latos] if need be."
Bailey exited his start against the Cubs on Thursday in the sixth inning with a slightly strained right knee, but like Latos, he expects to make his next start after the All-Star break.
Latos is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in six starts this season, missing the first 2 1/2 months recovering from right elbow and left knee surgeries, as well as a strained right forearm.
Schumaker agrees with concussion DL move
CINCINNATI -- Skip Schumaker, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list prior to Friday's game against the Pirates, is hoping the All-Star break will provide him the rest he needs to return to action. Schumaker crashed into the right-field wall as he tried to catch Luis Valbuena's two-run triple in the 12th inning of Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Cubs.
Schumaker said he "didn't feel right" after the crash, and that the move to the concussion DL was the right one.
"I needed at least a day, and with the All-Star break coming up, that seven days is actually three," Schumaker said Saturday. "With a limited bench, it wasn't real fair for me to take a day when we only had two [other position players on the bench]. So I think it made sense. I think if the All-Star break wasn't coming, I may have fought it a little more. ... But with the break coming up, it was kind of a no-brainer."
"We're hoping that Skip is good to get through the All-Star break and coming out of that, that he's OK, but it's one of those things you've got to be cautious with," manager Bryan Price said. "Concussion symptoms can be very short or very long, so we hope that it's on the short side."
Schumaker is batting .240 with eight doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs in 47 games this season.
• The Reds optioned right-handed reliever Curtis Partch to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday and recalled infielder Neftali Soto.
Partch was recalled Friday and picked up the win against the Pirates, the first of his big league career, tossing a scoreless eighth inning. In four appearances (5 1/3 innings) over three stints with Cincinnati this season, Partch hasn't allowed a run.
Soto began the season with the Reds and batted .107 (3-for-28) with a double and an RBI in 19 games before being optioned May 23. At Triple-A, he posted a .333/.371/.496 line with 14 doubles, two homers and 18 RBIs in 34 games.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.