Versatility Makes Reds’ Boesch Huge Asset

By John Fay

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Brennan Boesch has been one of the more impressive hitters in camp. But to win a bench position, versatility is a key.

To that end, the Reds have been playing Boesch in center field, despite only one of Boesch’s 430 games in the majors having been in center.

“He’s looked great,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He got a chance to play there more last year in Triple-A and he just made it a point to let me know, and the coaching staff, that he’s played center, and that he feels like he plays the position well. He’s done a real nice job out there.

“Since Billy (Hamilton) has been out, it’s given Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch and Kris Negron the majority of playing time – also with Yorman (Rodriguez) getting sent back down to the minor leagues.”

Price wasn’t sure how many outfielders the Reds will carry. Skip Schumaker and Negron give the Reds flexibility because they can also play infield.

“Schumaker is primarily an outfielder/second baseman,” Price said. “Kris primarily came up as an infielder that can play all three outfield spots. Along with the starters, you have two guys there that are capable of playing the outfield very well and then you have to look between Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch, that group. There’s a good chance at least one of those guys would be on the club as well at this point.”

Boesch is also taking balls at first base. He nearly played there last year with the New York Yankees.

“They were giving him a lot of work in New York when (Mark) Teixeira went down,” Price said. “And just when they were ready to say he’s ready to play first base, Teixeira came off the DL.

“He’s taking regular ground balls and I’d like to get him into ballgames here this spring just to make sure he’s comfortable in the game environment.”

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(Photo: The Enquirer/Kareem Elgazzar)