Scott Schebler had been hit by pitches 21 times in his career before Sunday. No pitch had ever hit him in the funny bone quite like the one that hit him in the final game of the series against the Washington Nationals.
Everyone has bumped the funny bone in their elbow at some point. Few have experienced the pain of a 95 miles per hour fastball hitting the bone.
“Normally, you hit it on something wooden that you’re just passing by,” said the Reds outfielder Schebler. “He got me pretty good.”
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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle hit Schebler in the ninth inning. Schebler stayed in the game and scored two batters later on a home run by Phil Gosselin. The Reds still lost 6-5.
Schebler’s fingers went numb after the at-bat. He thought the pain would go away, but there was lingering soreness Monday. That’s why he wasn’t in the lineup in the opener of a two-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
“I’ve already done treatment, and it’s starting to feel better,” Schebler said, “so we’ll just continue with that.”
Lineup moves: With Schebler sidelined, the Reds played their fourth different outfield rotation. Jesse Winker hit leadoff and played right field. Adam Duvall hit sixth and played right field. Billy Hamilton started in center and hit eighth.
First start: Cliff Pennington earned his first start with the Reds on Monday, batting second and playing shortstop instead of Jose Peraza, who was 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in the first three games.
Reds manager Bryan Price likes the veteran experience Pennington brings to the team.
“There’s just a very professional approach to what he does,” Price said. “He defends extremely well. That was his No. 1 tool coming out of the draft years ago. … He’s a switch hitter and knows the strike zone. He gives us competitive at-bats off the bench, and he’s a savvy base-runner.”
Next game: Cody Reed makes his first start of the season for the Reds at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday against the Cubs, who counter with Jon Lester.
In six appearances in spring training, Reed was 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA. Last season, Reed was 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 appearances. His only start came April 22 against the Cubs. He allowed seven earned runs on four hits in two innings.
Eaton honored: After going 8-for-13 in three games against the Reds, the Nationals’ Adam Eaton was named National League Player of the Week on Monday. The Springfield native Eaton drove in seven runs in the series and hit two home runs and two doubles.
“What a difference he might’ve made if they’d had him all last year,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s a terrific player. He gives you good at-bats against lefties and righties. They paid a lot to get him. They felt he was a difference-maker. Having him at the top of their order gives them a different look. It lengthens their lineup.”
It’s the first player of the week award for Eaton since August 2015 when he won the AL award with the Chicago White Sox.