ST. LOUIS -- It's been hinted and largely expected, but now it will definitely happen next season. Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton is switching positions, going from shortstop to center field.
"There are a lot of reasons," Bill Bavasi, the Reds' vice president of scouting and player development, told MLB.com. "We have [Zack] Cozart. We have Didi [Gregorius]. If you watch Hamilton's style of play, it's a pounding style of play. It would be an easier position for his body to take along with the base stealing. Everything seems to work better."
This season, the 22-year-old Hamilton set a new professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases in 192 attempts for Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola.
The Reds started preparing Hamilton for the switch during this season.
"Most of the year, he took a round of BP in center field -- at both Bakersfield and Pensacola," Bavasi said. "We would just back everybody off so he could watch balls come off of the bat."
Hamilton is at the team's Goodyear, Ariz., complex working out with players from the organization's instructional league to prepare himself for the Arizona Fall League. In the AFL, he is expected to play center field, left field and shortstop.
Moving Hamilton to center field does not mean a Major League promotion is imminent for 2013.
"He's not at the point yet where we have to make room for him," Bavasi said. "I can't really tell you where he's going to start next year -- Double-A or Triple-A."
Cueto, Arroyo, Latos to start first three of NLDS
ST. LOUIS -- The Reds have a rotation set for their Division Series, which begins Saturday against the Giants in San Francisco.
Not surprising is that Johnny Cueto will start Game 1, followed by Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 and Mat Latos in Game 3.
"We've been planning this for a while. It didn't take a genius to see how we planned it," Baker said on Tuesday. "What you see is what it is right now."
It appears that Homer Bailey, who threw a no-hitter vs. the Pirates on Friday, might not get a NLDS start. Baker was asked if he would use a fourth starter, if needed.
"We're not sure about that," Baker said. "Generally speaking, you only use three starters in the first round. We won't try to guess who's not [in], but that's a pretty good ace in the hole if you've got a guy getting hammered. You usually don't let guys stick around to get hammered. It's not like a regular-season game."
The Reds are still trying to make their pitching staff and other roster decisions.
"That is always the toughest part -- who do you leave off?" Baker said. "I've seen guys get angry. I remember one time with [Tommy] Lasorda, there were a couple of guys upset with him."
Baker also realizes that he'll be open to criticism for the selections.
"If it works, then it's cool," Baker said. "If it doesn't, then you should have gone with somebody else."
The "2-3 format" for the NLDS is a tough spot for the Reds, even though they are guaranteed home-field advantage in the round. It means the first two games will be played on the road, something that Baker previously experienced.
"I remember I was the manager of the 1997 Giants that had to go to the Florida Marlins and play. We lost the first two games there and only got one game at home."
The Marlins went on to win the World Series that year.
Baker not feeling worn out after subdued return
ST. LOUIS -- One day after returning to the bench after missing 11 games to recover from a mild stroke and irregular heartbeat, Reds manager Dusty Baker was feeling good.
While Baker is trying to conserve his energy as he continues to get closer to 100 percent, he did not feel worn out by Monday's 4-2 loss to the Cardinals.
"There wasn't a whole bunch of worn out to be," Baker said on Tuesday. "I was kind of just sitting there. Had it been an exciting game or back and forth or something like that. ... It was rather a little bit uneventful for St. Louis. There were a lot of people here, but it wasn't the same excitement here. It wasn't the same anything. It was different. You didn't hear them be very loud at all."
The 2012 Reds are only the second team in Major League history to produce at least six pitchers with at least 116 strikeouts -- Arroyo (129), Bailey (162), Aroldis Chapman (121 entering Tuesday), Latos (181 entering Tuesday) and Mike Leake (116). The 1993 Dodgers had six pitchers with at least 119 strikeouts.