Newcomer Alcantara has skills Reds can use

Arismendy Alcantara has the right skills for a job on the Reds’ bench. His role will be the duct tape and three-in-one oil that keeps households running.

The starting eight has been set, although catcher Devin Mesoraco’s litany of surgeries may delay his availability for opening day.

Alcatara can hit for average, run and play multiple positions in the infield and the outfield. Depending on how many pitchers the Reds keep, the bench will have four or five players on any given night. Alcantara started Tuesday’s game against the Angels at third base. So far he has played center field in six games, shortstop in seven, and second base in six.

“I’m really impressed with him in center,” manager Bryan Price said. “He just needs to get comfortable. He’s on a new team where people don’t know him that well. He’s trying to make an impression.”

Alcantara was signed by the Cubs in 2008 as a 17-year-old. He spent three seasons in Class A ball before he reached Double A Tennessee in 2013. He started the 2014 season at Triple A Iowa in the Cubs chain and was hitting .307 in 89 games with 10 home runs, a surprising power number for a guy who is 5-foot-10, 170 pounds.

The Cubs called him up July 9, and he made his debut against the Reds that night. Alcantara finished the season with the Cubs, appearing in 70 games, 48 in center and 21 at second. He hit .205 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Alcantara made the Cubs out of spring training in 2015 but played in just 11 games. He sent the Reds home with a walk-off single April 13. Alcantara was optioned to Iowa in April and earned a spot on the Pacific Coast All-Star team with a .231 average in 120 games with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs. He led the league with 12 triples.

Alcantara spent last season with Oakland, having been traded for outfielder Chris Coghlan. When The A’s cut him loose, the Reds claimed him on waivers at the end of the season.

This year the Reds offered Alcantara a chance to win a place on their bench. After early jitters on defense, especially at shortstop, where he made two errors, he has been exceptional in the field.

“He has a rare skill set,” Price said. “He can run. He’s a switch-hitter with surprising power, His ability to play multiple positions makes it easier for a manager to find playing time.”

Alcantara, who made a nice play at third base against the Angels on the first ball hit to him Tuesday, is hitting .250 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and two stolen bases.

The 25-year old is out of options. The Reds would have to expose him to waivers if he doesn’t make the team.

Reed outstanding: Cody Reed had by far his best outing of the spring with 5 2/3 shutout innings Tuesday, allowing just a single to Ben Revere. He walked two and struck out five, including his last batter, Kole Calhoun. Reed was relieved by Evan Mitchell with two outs and the bases empty when he reached his pitch limit. Mitchell struck out Mike Trout but Reed wanted him.

“When Price walked out there, I said, ‘You’re not going to let me get this guy out,’ ” Reed said. “He said, ‘No, I want Mitchell to get it.’ I said awwww. I wanted to get (Trout) out. Who doesn’t want to?”

One of the seven pitchers with a chance at three open spots in the starting rotation, Reed has allowed four runs in his last 12 1/3 innings for a 2.84 ERA.

“I had two walks that might have been the worst part of it. There were a lot of lefties in that lineup (four). I had a little bit of an advantage,” the left-hander said. “The hit I gave up was to the lefty. Overall I felt pretty good.”

The competition for the rotation is getting more intense by the day.

“I’m right there with them,” Reed said. “I’m going to go for it too. If I keep doing that, I’ll put myself in a good position.”

Iglesias still out: Pitcher Raisel Iglesias, scratched from a minor league appearance Friday with a sore elbow, still is not throwing. Results from a Monday exam were not available Tuesday morning.

Raburn rules: Ryan Raburn hit his team-leading third home run of the spring off Angels starter and former Red J.C. Ramirez.

Raburn is a non-roster utility player auditioning for a backup/pinch-hitting role for the Reds.

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