Suarez comfortable hitting second in order

Eugenio Suarez has spent most of his career batting in run-producing spots in the lineup, but he’s working from a different angle this season.
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Eugenio Suarez has spent most of his career batting in run-producing spots in the lineup, but he’s working from a different angle this season.

Eugenio Suarez has spent most of his career batting in run-producing spots in the lineup, but he’s working from a different angle this season.

The Reds third baseman batted second in manager Bryan Price’s batting order on Sunday for the third time in Cincinnati’s three games this season.

“He’s evolved as a hitter,” Price said. “He’s got a better on-base percentage. He can get on base for our run-producers, and we need that. We need more RBI opportunities.”

Though he went 2-for-9 with a two-run homer over his first two games in the relatively new spot, Suarez is finding plenty of positives in the move.

“I’m comfortable hitting there,” said Suarez, who batted second six times last season and 59 times in his career going into this season. “I see more good pitches hitting in front of Joey. If the manager wants me there, I’ll do the job. Hopefully, it gives the other guys more of a chance for RBIs.”

He also likes the idea of getting more at bats over the course of the season.

“That’s the best thing about it,” said Suarez, who has batted mostly fifth or sixth in his previous four major league seasons. “I got five at bats (Saturday).”

Harvey Wannabe

Scooter Gennett was walking into the Reds clubhouse before Sunday’s game when he looked up, saw media members and took a sharp right into an off-limits hallway, saying “Aw, geez.”

The reason the second baseman acted as if was trying to duck the media? He was wearing a white Easter Bunny outfit and carrying the headgear.

He eventually came out, still wearing the costume. He’d been entertaining some children in a meeting room near the Great American Ball Park press box.

“I did it one year in Milwaukee during spring training,” he said. “I got it on Amazon. It was supposed to be pink. They sent me the wrong thing.”

As he was talking, Price walked by and saw the costumed Gennett.

“Nice,” Price said.

Harvey is the name of the 6-foot-3-1/2 white rabbit visible only to Elwood P. Dowd in the play and movie entitled “Harvey.” James Stewart portrayed Dowd in the 1950 movie version and on stage in a 1970 remake.

Gennett is 5-10.

Trading ‘pens’

Part of Great American Ball Park’s new look this season is a flip-flop of the bullpens. The home bullpen, which was located in left center field since the ballpark opened in 2003, now is in the right field corner, formerly the site of the visitors’ warmup area.

“Mainly proximity to the dugout and clubhouse,” Price said when asked the reason for the move. “If there’s a catcher down there warming up a pitcher and we need him to pinch-hit, he can get here quicker – or (reliever and potent hitter Michael) Lorenzen. It’s definitely beneficial being closer to the dugout, and in the dead of summer, the other bullpen can get baked.”

Price is having hard time breaking the habit of looking toward left-center field when he makes a pitching change. He even motioned in that direction when making a change on Opening Day.

“I keep looking out there, expecting to see the door open and a guy come walking out,” he said. “Then I get ambushed by a guy coming in from my right.”

Martinez Memories

First-year Washington manager Dave Martinez spent one of his 16 major league seasons with Cincinnati, playing in 135 games as the Reds’ center fielder under manager Lou Piniella in 1992. Martinez was asked before Sunday’s game if he had any overriding memories of that season.

“I played for Lou,” he said with a smile, as if nothing more needed to be said. “This is a great city to play in. I have fond memories of playing here. I played with some great players – Barry Larkin, Paul O’Neill, Hal Morris. We had a great year.”

Martinez, acquired the previous December with third baseman Willie Greene and left-handed pitcher Scott Ruskin from Montreal for right-handers Bill Risley and John Wetteland, hit .254 with three homers and 31 RBIs for a team that finished 90-72 and second in the National League West behind Atlanta. He left as a free agent after the season.

Raisel Back

The Reds announced before Sunday’s game that closer Raisel Iglesias had been reinstated from the three-day paternity list and rookie right-hander Jackson Stephens had been optioned to Triple-A Louisville.