The image filled millions of television screens all over the world.
Part of ESPN’s report on the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 loss to San Francisco Giants on Sunday included a shot of second baseman Derek Dietrich glaring at the camera with the eye-black mustache he’d drawn around his mouth in full display.
The mustache was Dietrich’s effort to enhance the Reds’ retro look. They wore throwback uniforms from the 1911 season, part of the franchise’s ongoing celebration of the 150thanniversary of the first professional team.
“I thought I’d spice things up,” Dietrich said before Monday’s game. “I can’t really grow a beard or mustache, so I thought I’d add one. I said to myself, ‘If I’m going to wear something like this, I’d better get a hit.’”
He did better than that. Dietrich hit the third of Cincinnati’s three consecutive home runs on consecutive pitches from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija.
“I got a lot of messages about it,” said Dietrich, who hit four home runs in the first three games of the series against the Giants.
Dietrich, a Cleveland native and the grandson of former major leaguer Steve Demeter, described as “awesome” and “really cool” the all-blue uniforms worn by the Reds on Sunday, and he’s looking forward to seeing the other 13 throwback uniforms the Reds plan to unveil throughout the season. He wasn’t sure about enhancing those looks with, say, mutton-chop sideburns for the 1970s versions.
“I don’t know if it will be premeditated or on the fly,” he said.
Options: Releasing Matt Kemp and demoting Scott Schebler has left Cincinnati manager David Bell a bit shorthanded in the outfield. That led him to deploy Jose Peraza as the Reds starting left fielder for Monday’s series finale against the Giants.
Peraza has played the outfield 27 times in his major league career out of 401 career defensive appearances, including 21 starts. Nine of the appearances and eight of the starts have been in left field, but Bell wasn’t concerned about inexperience.
“He’s played out there before,” Bell said. “He can run. He’s an athlete. We want to do anything we can to give ourselves the best chance.”
The appearance in left field was Peraza’s second of the season and first start, but he’d spent time during pregame activities in the outfield.
“A handful of times,” Bell said. “Most of his work has been in the infield, but he’s done it enough that we’re comfortable.”
4-for-4: Monday’s lineup included Nick Senzel’s fourth different slot in his first four major league games.
Bell had Senzel, regarded as the team’s top prospect, batting leadoff after hitting him second, sixth and fifth in his first three games.
»PHOTOS: Nick Senzel makes MLB debut
Senzel went into the game batting just .182 (2-for-11) with a home run, but Bell was impressed by the rookie’s four walks.
“He’s been having good at bats,” Bell said. “He can run, but having quality at bats makes me comfortable to put him in that spot. I don’t think it’s putting too much on him.”
Bell also was impressed by the first career plate appearance of Josh VanMeter, who drew a seventh-inning walk while pinch-hitting for pitcher Luis Castillo on Sunday.
“That was a great at bat,” Bell said, adding with a smile, “I would’ve swung 10 times.”
Scooter update: Second baseman Scooter Gennett, who’s been out all season with a severely strained right groin he suffered late in spring training, is making slow progress in his recovery, but he’s not up to doing any work on the field, he said on Monday.
“I’m on the treadmill,” he said. “I’m increasing my workload. It’s really smart to not do something that could set me back. Walking is fine. Jogging, you can feel it a little bit. There are certain moves where you can tell it’s still weak. Side shuffles, I’m not there yet, but it could be only a couple of days where I can ramp it up.”
Sitting out is difficult for the Lebanon, Ohio, native, who was an National League All-Star last season.
“It’s a little tough to hear the talk on TV,” he said. “I feel like I’m watching a road team. Sometimes, I have to hit mute.”
Gennett has been able to find an upside to the enforced inactivity.
“My stats haven’t improved, but my marriage is better,” he said.