Steve Selsky overcomes odds to play for Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds have the second overall pick in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on Thursday. The player they select will have a great chance of making the big leagues.

The same can’t be said for players taken in the 33rd round, but one such player tried on a Reds hat in the clubhouse Tuesday before the start of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. Outfielder Steve Selsky was the 1,015th player drafted in 2011. He was a long-shot to play with the Reds, so he appreciates every moment in the big leagues.

“I think it’s really cool that I’m here and all my hard work is paying off a little bit,” said Selsky, who was a junior at the University of Arizona when he was drafted.

This is Selsky’s second stint. The Reds promoted him from Louisville in May. He struck out in his one at-bat against the Seattle Mariners on May 20 before returning to Louisville. The Reds brought him up again Tuesday to take the place of pitcher Jon Moscot.

It might be another short stint for Selsky. The Reds will need to make room for pitcher Anthony DeSclafani when he returns to the rotation Friday.

Selsky hit .284 for Louisville. He knows he’ll have a limited role with the Reds but hopes to help any way he can.

“I’ll just try to help them win a game,” Selsky said, “maybe late in the game with a pinch hit or as a defensive replacement in a double switch, where I can help them keep the lead or take the lead.”

Leake's return: Former Reds pitcher Mike Leake started for the Cardinals on Tuesday. It was his first career start against the Reds, who traded him to the San Francisco Giants last July.

Leake entered on a roll. He was 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts in May after going 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA in five starts in April.

“I’m used to being out there at shortstop behind him,” Reds shortstop Zack Cozart said. “It’ll be fun to compete against him because I know he’s a competitor. He’s going to come after us. He’s not going to try to trick us. That’s the kind of pitcher he is. He wants you to put it in play early. I’m looking forward to it. It should be fun.”

Next game: Alfredo Simon (2-5, 8.94) will start the second game of the series at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday against the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia (4-5, 3.48).

Simon leads the big leagues in earned runs (47). He earned the victory in his last start, allowing four earned runs in seven innings against the Rockies on Thursday.