Reds infield filled with plenty of shortstops

Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez throws to first for an out against the Pirates on Friday, April 8, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
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Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez throws to first for an out against the Pirates on Friday, April 8, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

The Cincinnati Reds split squad that stayed in Goodyear traveled across town to play the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. Cincinnati started the Cactus League with six straight losses, but after defeating the A’s 8-6, the Reds are now 15-14-1.

The other game Saturday was in Las Vegas, as Cincinnati lost to the Cubs 11-7. They have another split squad today, with one game against the Cubs in Las Vegas and another against the Seattle Mariners in Goodyear.

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Shortstops aplenty

The Reds have a lot of shortstops in the current infield.

Zack Cozart is the starting shortstop, but the starting third baseman, Eugenio Suarez, was a shortstop his entire career before moving to third base last season. Jose Peraza was a shortstop in the Atlanta Braves system before moving to second base.

The athleticism of the three players allows them to cover a lot of ground, essential to saving a young pitching staff hits and, by extension, runs.

“We are well served by having three guys that have been shortstops on our infield,” said Reds manager Bryan Price said. “And of course having Joey (Votto), who was a former catcher, at first base, holy cow what more can you ask for?”

Peraza was moved off shortstop in the Braves organization when Andrelton Simmons was defined as their shortstop. Suarez had always been a shortstop.

“He played some third in the big leagues out of necessity for Detroit,” Price said “For those guys to move there and do it so fluently has been impressive. No one wants to go from starter to reliever, or very few do. Very few want to go from centerfield to left or right. It’s got to be the same for shortstops. Brandon Phillips came up as a shortstop. I imagine initially, he didn’t want to go to second, but if it meant playing, he’d go to second. He winds up being one of the most dynamic second basemen.”

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Amir Garrett

Garrett made his sixth Cactus League start against the A’s on Saturday. For the second start in a row, he pitched five innings. For the second game in a row, he struggled.

In his last outing, Garrett gave up three runs in five innings. On Saturday, the A’s scored six runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out four, threw a wild pitch and gave up a home run to Rajai Davis.

In Garrett’s first four games, he allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings.

“I felt good. I executed my pitches, just baseball happened,” Garrett said. “I gave up a couple of hits where I left the ball up. If I had executed the pitch, they wouldn’t have been good hits like that. Some balls got in the gap. It just happens.”

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Garrett is fine with his camp as a whole.

“I think I presented myself well,” Garrett said. “I think I came into this camp as ready as I could be. I felt like I pitched pretty well. I had a couple of those games where you don’t pitch as well as you can. It is how you bounce back from those games. Just like today. It wasn’t a good day for me but able to go five for my team and kept them in the ballgame.”

Garrett hit a double in the top of the fifth, his first hit of the spring.

“I was trying to get lucky one time,” Garrett said. “I did.”

Garrett is not likely to get another start in Arizona. The Reds leave Wednesday. His turn would come up on Thursday while the Reds are traveling to Louisville for a game against its Future Stars.

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