As comfortable as he was in left, Duvall was also right at home at the plate. After a bit of a slow start in April, he hit 11 home runs in May on the way to a spot on the National League All-Star team.
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Reds manager Bryan Price didn’t hesitate during the first week of camp to anoint Duvall as the club’s clean-up hitter.
“I think four, five, and six, you’re going to get a lot of opportunities to drive in runs,” Duvall said. “That’s my main goal is to drive in runs so I think it’s cool to get the chance because you know who’s hitting in front of you.”
Duvall drove in 103 runs and hit 33 home runs last season. His numbers fell off a bit in the second half, but he doesn’t blame that on pitchers figuring him out.
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“Maybe they started paying a little bit more attention to me,” Duvall admitted. “I’ve basically been pitched the same way my whole life, sinkers inside, sliders away. I think that’s how they pitch a lot of guys in the meat of the order. This is a game of adjustments and I think I made some good adjustments in the end and I caught stride again, it just happened the season was over.”
The Louisville native hopes he’s found a permanent home just up the road from where he grew up:
“For us to have a second half like we did last year, it’s very important going into this year. We’ve added some pieces and we’ve got a lot of talent. We’re looking forward to going out and winning some games.”
Getting to the games: The Reds open the Cactus League schedule Friday in Scottsdale against the Giants and play their first game at Goodyear Ballpark on Saturday against the Indians. That's the first of three meetings against the American League champions this spring.
Reds at Giants, 3:05 p.m., 700