Henry Rodriguez Shows Versatility For Reds
CINCINNATI — Henry Rodriguez has a well-earned reputation as one of the best bats in the Reds system. He was impressive enough in spring training that Cincinnati considered using him as a bench bat.
But Rodriguez's future will be tied to his glove.
Rodriguez plays second and third base. He's blocked at second by Brandon Phillips. Third baseman Scott Rolen is in the last year of his contract, but Todd Frazier is the leading candidate to take that spot for 2013.
Rodriguez could make the club in 2013 as an extra player, if he shows he can play defense well enough to be used in a utility role.
Rodriguez, a 22-year-old from Venezuela, hit .348/.385/.439 in 132 at-bats with Double-A Pensacola before moving up to Triple-A Louisville, where he batted .244/.264/.333 in 213 at-bats. He missed time with a broken left thumb that required surgery. The Reds called him up to the majors at the start of September, and he went 3-for-14 in a utility role.
His time with the big league club has given infield/bench coach Chris Speier a chance to work with him. Speier reserves judgment.
"I haven't seen him enough," Speier said. "I hit him a lot of groundballs, but you want to see more live situations. You want to see reads off the bat. You want to see fielding techniques, range.
"Those are hard to come by when you're just hitting groundballs. He's going to play winter ball and work on that as much as possible."
• Top prospect Billy Hamilton went to the club's instructional league in Goodyear, Ariz. He'll work on playing the outfield there. The plan is for him to play some outfield in the Arizona Fall League.
• Lefthander Tony Cingrani got a September callup. But he's been very limited as far as innings because he threw 146 during his minor league season. The Reds had no plans to start him. He made two relief appearances in September.