Last weekend, Jesse Winker made his major-league debut with the Cincinnati Reds and, on Saturday in his second career at-bat, delivered a pinch-hit, go-ahead two-run double that led to a 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Phillip Ervin doesn’t mind the standard set by his fellow outfielder, who was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Sunday. Ervin may get a chance to match or surpass it after being recalled from Louisville on Friday.
“I was very happy for Winker to get his first hit,” Ervin said before Friday’s game against the Chicago Cubs. “That motivated me. I think it’s great.”
The 5-foot-10, 207-pound Ervin was called up to fill the 25-man roster slot left open when Cincinnati placed left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. The right-handed batter, the Reds’ top pick and the 27th overall selection in the June 2013 draft, was hitting .286 with three doubles, three home runs, a team-high 11 runs batted in and two stolen bases in 14 games with Louisville.
Manager Bryan Price expected to use Ervin the same way he deployed Winker, who also was recalled on a Friday and replaced a pitcher on the roster.
“This is a good way for him to break the ice and get acclimated,” Price said. “He’ll be in more of a bench role. This will be a valuable experience for him. I’m sure there are a lot of things he’d like to get out of the way.
“He’s been swinging the bat well. He’s a good basestealer. He’s always run the bases well. The quality of his at-bats has improved. He’s shortened his swing. I talked to (Louisville manager) Delino DeShields and got some positive reviews. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
Ervin, 24, seemed to be a bit overwhelmed by the development.
“It meant a lot,” the Alabama native said. “I was kind of shocked. I didn’t know how to act. I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’ The emotions kind of all built up.
“I’m not thinking about it,” he added about his role. “I just know that I’m here until they tell me I’m not. I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Short stay: Price is hoping Cingrani’s stay on the disabled list doesn’t go too far beyond 10 days.
“We’re hoping he’ll be ready when the 10 days are up or close to it,” Price said. “I talked to Tony yesterday and, if it’s just the 10 days, he’ll still probably need at least one rehab outing, just to be sure.”
Progress reports: Rookie right-hander Rookie Davis threw what Price described as a “good, aggressive bullpen” on Friday as he tries to come back from the bruised right forearm — the result of being hit by a pitch — that sent him to the disabled list April 12.
“We’ll have to wait to see how he comes out of it,” Price said.
Right-hander Nefi Ogando, sidelined in spring training with a right thumb injury, threw a bullpen on Thursday and is close to being ready to face hitters, Price said. Right-hander Homer Bailey, still trying to come back from surgeries on his elbow and forearm that have cost him most of the past two seasons, continues to throw on flat ground. The target date for him to climb on to a mound is late April or early May, Price said.
Next: Left-hander Cody Reed is scheduled to make his first 2017 start on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. in the second game of the three-game series against the defending World Series-champion Cubs. Right-hander Jake Arrieta, for whom Friday was the one-year anniversary of his no-hitter against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, is Chicago’s projected starter.
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