Two weeks after his big-league debut, Nick Senzel sat in the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse Friday looking like a guy who will be a fixture there for years to come.
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Senzel collected two hits Wednesday and another two hits Thursday as the Reds won two games and a series against the Chicago Cubs. He raised his average to .250.
Not much about Major League Baseball has taken Senzel by surprise. He said he was ready for this level last season until an injury delayed him. He has proven himself ready in Cincinnati, starting every game in center field since his promotion from Triple-A Louisville.
“I think it’s gone pretty good,” Senzel said. “My teammates and everyone on the support staff has made it easy to transition and adjust coming up. They’ve made it easy for me to go out and focus on playing ball and winning games. The first weekend was a little hectic with friends and family, but that’s behind me.”
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Senzel was in the lead-off spot for the ninth straight game Friday as the Reds started a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park. Prior to Senzel’s promotion, manager David Bell tried Joey Votto, Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler and — for one game — catcher Curt Casali atop the lineup.
The Reds entered the weekend with a .219 team batting average. That was five points higher than it was two days earlier. They moved out of last place in the National League in that category, passing the Miami Marlins (.218). Senzel’s recent production has helped elevate the offense.
“We like a lot about what Nick’s doing offensively and defensively,” Bell said. “At the top of the order, he has the ability to get on base. He’s having good at-bats. He’s really acclimated well — to start the first time in the major leagues. He brings an element of speed. He’s played well all around.”
Senzel stole two bases Wednesday and another base Thursday. He has four stolen bases in all. He’s tied for second on a team that ranks fourth in the league with 23. Bell said Senzel has the green light every time he’s on base.
“I’m just trying to study the pitchers and the catchers,” Senzel said, “and making sure when’s a good time to run and when is not and trying to think through the game.”
REED UP, VANMETER DOWN: The Reds promoted relief pitcher Cody Reed from Triple-A Louisville on Friday and sent rookie infielder Josh VanMeter back to Louisville. Reed was 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 15 appearances with the Bats. He pitched in one game for the Reds on May 4 and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Giants.