CINCINNATI — Except for left fielder Marlon Byrd, it’s the same Reds’ everyday lineup as 2014.
But, at least on Opening Day, Reds manager Bryan Price gave it a major batting-order shuffle.
It started out the same with center fielder Billy Hamilton leading off. After that, it went Joey Votto (1B), Todd Frazier (3B), Devin Mesoraco (C), Byrd (LF), Jay Bruce (RF), Brandon Phillips (2B), Zack Cozart (SS) and right-hander Johnny Cueto.
The big changes include Votto at No. 2 and Phillips at No. 7.
“I think the thing that stands out is having Brandon (Phillips) hitting seventh,” Price said. “I mentioned in the offseason once we signed Marlon, we knew that we’d have an impact bat hitting seventh. Brandon is selfless enough to go in that role and understand the value of it. … Brandon loves responsibility, not just offensively, but defensively. He realizes there will be a lot of opportunity to drive in runs in that seventh hole. He also understands and appreciates the need to be impactful through the entirety of our lineup.”
“Billy profiles as a leadoff guy and finished strong in spring training after a slow start. He creates havoc when he’s on base. Joey’s another high on-base, extra-base hit guy setting the table. … I wanted to create enough separation between Joey and Jay (two left-handed hitters), so we don’t make it easy to match up the left-handed relief pitcher.
“This will be fluid. If there’s a better way to line these guys up throughout the course of the year, then I’ll do that, but I think this is the best way to get started.”
Bailey on schedule
Reds right-hander Homer Bailey started the year on the disabled list after he had surgery on Sept. 6 for a torn tendon near his right elbow.
“Homer is scheduled to throw a simulated game this morning (Monday) down in extended spring,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’ll continue to increase his innings and his number of pitches thrown. Then, the decision if he comes through that, is what is the best place to pitch him? If it’ll be a warm-weather spot like Pensacola … or triple-A Louisville. We’ll get through today, then we’ll secure a location on where we anticipate will be his final rehab start will take place.”
Price said the “optimistic plan” is for Bailey to return the Reds by mid-April.
The Reds’ Opening Day crowd of 43,633 was a regular-season record for the Great American Ball Park.
Cueto notches No. 1,000
Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto notched his 1,000th career strikeout on Monday. Cueto’s 10 strikeouts on Opening Day tied the mark of the second most by a Reds pitcher on Opening Day. Gary Nolan has the record with 12 strikeouts on April 7, 1969. Mario Soto strukc out 10 on April 5, 1982.
In four Opening Day starts, Cueto is 1-1 with a 0.64 ERA. Over 28 Opening Day innings (four 7-inning starts), he has given up 13 hits and struck out 31.
The Findlay Market Parade
The 1990 World Series champion “Nasty Boys,” Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers served as the grand marshalls of the 96th Findlay Market Parade. The three also threw out the first pitch.
Monday was the Reds’ 139th Opening Day and 13th at Great American Ball Park. The Reds are 67-71-1 in home openers. Monday marked the fourth straight 4:10 p.m. opener.