In final tuneup, Cincinnati Reds top prospects in Dayton

On the brink of what could be another long regular season, the Cincinnati Reds effectively closed spring training with some good vibes at Fifth Third Field on Saturday.

They avoided a potentially embarrassing loss to a team consisting of their prospects, they drew a huge crowd (8,837) despite cold temperatures and got a look at some youngsters who can help them now or in the near future.

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Amir Garrett, a former Dayton Dragon who is set to make his major-league debut as a member of the rotation next week, started and did not allow a run in three innings as the Reds won 5-1.

Stuart Turner, a Rule 5 draft pick acquired for his defense, clubbed a three-run homer that ended up being the game-winner.

Nick Senzel, a 2016 Dragon who dominated the Midwest League as a rookie first-round draft pick out of the University of Tennessee, had two hits in his return to Fifth Third Field, and he was just one of several youngsters Reds manager Bryan Price liked getting one more look at before the real games begin Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“To see those kids out there playing was fun,” Price said. “I really enjoyed seeing Senzel play well, but it was really nice to see Taylor Trammell out there. Brantley Bell had a nice game with two hits.”

He also gave shout-outs to former Dragon Shed Long and a trio of promising young catchers — Tyler Stephenson, Cassidy Brown and former Dragon Chris Okey — who suited up for the Futures team.

Price admitted this was no normal game because the guys in the other dugout are not enemies — they hope to be future allies.

“There’s just a bunch of these guys that either were in camp with us or came over and helped out from time to time,” Price said. “The future definitely looks brighter now than it did a few years ago as far as prospects, both pitchers and position players, and it’s always fun to see our guys play.”

Price also appreciated a video the Dragons showed featuring former Dayton players who had made it to the big leagues thanking the fans of the Gem City.

“Loved it,” Price said of the atmosphere.

“It was a cold day and you maybe anticipate that in March or early April back in Ohio, but I thought the guys went out there and played hard with this environment and the great crowd. I thought the thing that was really nice was the video interviews with the players who played in Dayton.

“It reminds the fans here that the players never forget ‘em. They never forget this experience just because they get to the big leagues and start to do well and make some money. They don’t forget the trip they took along the way to get here, and I think because the Dayton experience was really special for all of them it was really special for them to be able to wrap it back around and allow the players to speak about how highly they enjoyed the experience when they were here.”

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