A heavy rain curtailed the Reds workout on Saturday as the team awaited another player to compete for a spot on the Reds bench, one of a handful of roster spots up for grabs.
Ryan Raburn is expected in Goodyear on Sunday to take a physical and formally sign a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
Raburn played for Detroit, Cleveland and Colorado in his 11-year career. He is a .253 lifetime hitter with 91 home runs and 352 runs batted in. Last season, Raburn was .220/.309/.404 with the Rockies with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 113 games.
Raburn a right-handed hitter is expected to compete with Arismendy Alcantara, Desmond Jennings, Hernan Irrabarren and Jesse Winker for a spot on the Cincinnat bencb. Winker would have to play his way onto the team and is expected to go back to Triple A/
Manager Bryan Price is seeking versatile players, who can play several positions to give him flexibility off the bench.
Raburn fits the criteria.
“We are bringing him in for competition and depth,” Price said. “Ryan is a guy who has been successful against left-handed pitching.”
The native of Tampa, who grew up in Plant City, has a batting average of .261 against lefties, just above his career average.
His competition outside of Jennings is also versatile in the field. Alcantara has played shortstop, thirdbase, secondbase and the outfield in three seasons with the Cubs and Oakland. The switch hitter has a .195/.249/.337 line with 10 home runs, all of them for Chicago in 2014. Alcantara played 16 games for Oakland last season, hitting .211.
“He plays multiple positions and runs well,” Price said of Alcantara who is out of options.
Jennings spent seven years in Tampa Bay, hitting .245 with 55 home runs and 191 RBI.
Irrabarren, 32, bats left-handed and played well for the Reds late in the season. He hit .311 with no home runs and two RBI in 24 games in Cincinnati.
Winker has an uphill battle to stick with Major League club. The 23-year old was picked in the first round (49th overall) in 2012, out of Olympia High School in Orlando. Winker has battled injuries since he signed. He bats left-handed and is expected to hit with power when totally healthy.
“He will be an organizational decision,” Price said. “If a young player isn’t playing full time or in a platoon position, it is generally more helpful for him to play everyday.”
The Reds have a shortage of left-handed hitters on the bench. Winker could provide that if he pushes for playing time this year.
“I would like Jesse to press us to consider him,” Price said. Winker his .303 with three home runs in 106 games in Louisville last year although he has hit as many as 16 in the lower minor leagues.
“We spend too much time talking about power,” Price said. “I’d like to see him continue to hit for a high average.”