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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.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scooter Gennett, Zack Cozart, Jose Peraza Share Middle Infield

Zack Cozart still leads the vote for the All-Star game at shortstop but his injury has opened the door for Bryan Price to play Scooter Gennett, who is having an All-Star month.

Gennett is hitting .317 with nine home runs and 34 RBI this month, highlited by his four home run, 10 RBI performance on June 6.  He is in the top 10 of the National League for the month of June in three categories, home runs (3rd), RBI (5th) and extra-base hits (14, 7th).

Cozart is getting a day to rest,  He has checked off all the boxes for his return from a quad injury.

“I did everything yesterday, I fielded, hit and ran the bases.  I even ran out a triple,” Cozart said.

“We're going to get through today and it could be as early as tomorrow,” Bryan Price said. “I think today is just going to be a day of rest. I think there's a good chance for tomorrow or certainly this weekend.”

Now the problem is finding playing time for Gennett, who has earned more.  The Reds are still trying to develop Jose Peraza as the every day shortstop but they also want to win.

Price will have to be creative to accomplish both goals.

“There's a lot of flexibility. We have to stay with the multi-positional theme to keep Gennett in the lineup,” Price said. “That means moving him around -- second, third, left, right. It's just going to mean we're going to have to mix and match a little bit. I think I was able to do that fairly well the first couple of months. You can't deny his impact on our ballclub and my desire to have him in the lineup with regularity. I just can't do it at one position. It's not going to look like it was before because there were times when he'd go 3-4-5 days without playing. I don't think that's going to happen frequently at all. But he will be more than simply a secondbase.”

Gennett played one inning in rightfield for the Brewers in 2014 and none until he came to the Reds.  He has played seven in leftfield and five in rightfield since coming to the Reds.  His natural position is secondbase,where he has played 354 in three years with Milwaukee.

Peraza is the secondbaseman or shortstop of the future.

“I think it's very important that we continue to develop Peraza as a middle infielder. I don't want to deprive him of the opportunity to develop.” Price said.

Peraza has shown flashes but been inconsistent at the plate.

He’s been a little up and down,” Price said. “A little bit of I don't know if it's transitioning through your first full season as a big leaguer. The league gets to know him a little bit, and he's got to compete with that. He's got to compete with the league knowledge of what he's handled well, what he hasn't handled well. Certainly, I think as he develops, we'll see better strike zone discipline which should increase the on-base percentage, getting better pitches to hit and deeper counts and more walks. However, if you take to date, he's got over 500 at-bats which constitutes what would resemble a full season. He's hit .282 with 39 stolen bases and some runs scored and some pretty darn good defenses at several positions. I am not at all disappointed and I have not lost any confidence in his ability to be an outstanding player. I think he's going to be an impact player for us here.”

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