“It’s a monkey off your back,” said VanMeter, who was in the starting lineup at second base for the start of a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday at Great American Ball Park. “It’s a vote of confidence. You can just go and compete. I was just thinking way too much. You just stick to your preparation and can’t think too much about mechanics in the box. It’s going to spin you into a hole. Just go out there and execute a plan.”
VanMeter’s home run was one of three the Reds hit in the seventh inning as they chipped away at a 5-0 deficit. Jesse Winker and Freddy Galvis also homered. The comeback stalled when Christian Colon hit into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth.
VanMeter hit .235 with eight home runs in 95 appearances last season. He said it was a humbling experience getting sent to the alternate site.
“Obviously, you never want it to happen, but it’s kind of a part of the situation I’m in, still having options,” he said. “I went down there and still got my work in and was able to get 15 at-bats in four days. It was really good to see live pitching on a consistent basis.”
NOTES: The Reds reinstated reliever Keone Kela from the injured list Thursday and designated pitcher Miguel Del Pozo for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410