Rosell Herrera watches the action from the Reds dugout during a game against the Braves on Thursday, April 26, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Cincinnati Reds: Versatile Herrera surprised by promotion

After eight years in minor leagues, Herrera makes it to big leagues

“I feel really happy right now,” Herrera said. “I wasn’t expecting this. I’m thankful I have the opportunity.”

The Reds promoted Herrera, 25, on Thursday before the series finale against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park. He will make his big-league debut when he plays.

» RELATED: Five things to know about Rosell Herrera

Herrera signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Colorado Rockies in 2009 and played eight seasons in that organization before signing a minor-league contract with the Reds in December. He hit .311 in 15 games with Louisville.

“He’s a versatile guy,” interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “He was very impressive in spring training. A tall, rangy kid who can run. He swings it from both sides of the plate. Primarily, he’s been playing the outfield the last few years but signed as an infielder. He’s played all around. He gives us a little more versatility and athleticism.”

Suarez back: The ball found Eugenio Suarez right away Thursday as he played for the Reds for the first time in 18 days. Atlanta Braves lead-off hitter Ender Inciarte hit a pop fly in foul ground. Suarez caught it just in front of the stands.

The Reds missed Suarez’s bat most of all, but he can field as well, and his return from the disabled list should provide a boost for a team that entered the game with the worst record in baseball (5-19).

» MCCOY: Riggleman shows he’s ‘old school’

Suarez suffered a broken right thumb when he was hit by a pitch April 8 in Pittsburgh. He missed 16 games. He made two rehab appearances with Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday and Wednesday. He went 1-for-5.

“I feel so excited to be back this quick,” Suarez said. “I feel great right now. I’m a little nervous, but I think it’s normal. I’ll be all right. I feel good. My thumb has no pain at all, so that’s why I’m here today.”

To make room on the roster for Suarez and Herrera, the Reds optioned Phillip Ervin and Cliff Pennington to Louisville.

Hot bat: Jesse Winker didn’t start Thursday for the Reds, but he has one of the team’s hottest bats. He has a seven-game hitting streak in which he went 10-for-23 (.423) with three doubles and three RBIs. He leads the Reds with a .311 average and .442 on-base percentage.

“This is who he’s been from the day he signed. He’s been a hitter. He’s gone through our minor-league level and hit. He got here last year and hit. He’s just a real confident major-league hitter.”

Looking ahead: The Reds start a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins on Friday. It will be the first time they have played at Target Field, which opened in 2010. It’s the only existing stadium the Reds haven’t visited. The Reds were 2-7 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

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