Reds Send Hamilton To Bats

CINCINNATI — The Reds extended their affiliation agreement with Triple-A Louisville through 2016 at the end of January. A couple of days later, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty gave the Bats a signing bonus.

Jocketty said Billy Hamilton, the Reds' top prospect and arguably the most exciting prospect in the game, will start the 2013 season as the Bats' center fielder.

"He'll be playing center field and working on his offense and his overall game," Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He's going to probably end up bunting a lot, with his speed. Bunting and running are his two key tools."

Hamilton, 22, set a minor league record with 155 stolen bases last year. He started the year at high Class A Bakersfield and finished it with Double-A Pensacola. He had a solid year at the plate last year, batting .310/.410/.420.

Hamilton played exclusively at shortstop last year, starting the transition to center field in instructional league and the Arizona Fall League.

The Reds hope Hamilton will be ready to bat leadoff and play center field in Cincinnati in 2014. They traded for Shin Soo Choo to fill those roles for 2013, but Choo is a free agent after this season.

The Reds have had their Triple-A club in Louisville for 14 years.

"Our organization's relationship with Louisville continues to be a very successful one," Jocketty said. "The Bats have a great ballpark and fan base and an even better front office staff, all of which leads to first-class treatment of our players."


• The Reds signed righthander Armando Galarraga to a minor league deal. It does not include an invitation to big league camp, but Galarraga could get some big league action. He went 0-4, 6.75 for Houston last year.

• Catcher Corky Miller was part of the Reds' winter caravan again this year. Miller didn't get any time with the Reds last year, but he continues to be a fan favorite.