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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, April 21, 2017

First Rounder From 2013 Phillip Ervin Gets The Call

The call of a lifetime came last night for Phillip Ervin, the Reds top pick in the 2013 draft.

The Reds, like Jesse Winker earlier this month, brought up one of there future outfielders to get a taste of the Major Leagues.  The Reds are balancing back and forth between an eight man bullen, four-man bench and a seven-man bullpen with a five-man bench.

A pair of long starts and a day off gave the bullpen a rest.  When Tony Cingrani was placed on the disabled list after Thursday’s game, the Reds called Ervin.  Winker was sent back after the game last Sunday and must remain with Louisville for at least 10 days.  It was Ervin’s turn.

The 24-year old from LeRoy, Alabama was told after a 1-for-4 night against Scranton-Wilkes Barre that left him with a .286 average.  He hit three home runs and three doubles with the Bats, driving in 11 runs.

After getting the news, the call went to sweet home Alabama. His mother and brother drove up today but his father, Sampson, couldn’t get off his job at Boise Paper Mill.in Jackson, Alabama.

“He’s sad because he couldn’t get off work but my mom and little brother will be here, They’re excited.” said Ervin, who played three years at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where Ervin became a pre-season All-American while studying sociology. “I’ve been so close. It finally, I achieved it. It was like a goal. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m all worked up right now.”

The Reds want to expose him to life in the big leagues after spending spring training the last two years with the Major Leaguers.

“Along the lines of what we did with Jesse Winker, it was an opportunity to break the ice a little bit,” Bryan Price said.  “Phil can get acclimated to the big leagues, get back together with the guys he spent spring training with.  It will be a bench role, maybe come off the bench and pinch hit, maybe get involved in a double switch.  For our club it gives us one more position player, as a pinch runner or usable bench piece. That;s valuable. It is valuable experience for him.  Maybe he will be like Jesse and get the opportunity to get his first hit.”\\

His numbers indicated his work that began in spring training for which he has earned the callup as a reward.

“He’s always been a good defender. He has good base running instincts. He’s been a successful base stealer,” Price said.  “He’s shown some power but its not about the power. It’s about putting consistent at bats together. That’s what he’s done so far. Phillip has shortened up his swing. I got a good report from Delino DeShields.”

Ervin got a chance to talk to Winker about his experience last week.

“I’m very happy for Winker,” Ervin said. “Winker went up there and just talking to him. It motivated me. I didn’t want to be over him too much. I just talked to him. He and I are good friends. I always wish the best for him.”

Ervin;s stay will likely be as short as Winker’s was but the 5‘10“ 205 pounder is going to enjoy the ride however long it is.

“I’m not thinking about it too much. I’m just here until they tell me I’m not. I’m going to enjoy it and have fun,” Ervin said.

Reds’ fans who follow the Dayton Dragons will notice Ervin’s resemblance to David Sappelt in terms of looks and stature.  Ervin spent the 2013 season in the Gem City, where he hit .237 with seven home runs and 68 RBI.  He stole 30 bases in 35 attempts that season and followed it up with 30 steals in 37 attempts the next year for Daytona and Pensacola.  He was slowed at the plate with a wrist injury in 2013.

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