MILWAUKEE - Reds manager Bryan Price has no plans to move center fielder Billy Hamilton out of the leadoff spot, despite the speedy rookie's .296 on-base percentage entering play Sunday.
"It's a process for him learning here," Price told reporters before Cincinnati's 13-4 rout of the Brewers at Miller Park. "We knew if he made our club, he'd have to continue to grow as an outfielder, as a base runner, as a bunter, [putting up] more competitive at-bats, laying off the low breaking ball like [Adam] Wainwright in the first game of the year when he struck him out four times on that low breaking ball under the zone."
Of particular concern is Hamilton's struggles when bunting; he came into the game 6-for-22 when trying to bunt but has been working on his technique, according to Price.
"Guys like him have to continue to improve their bunting technique," Price said. "Brett Butler was so good not just because he was a good bunter, but even with the infield in, the infield way in, he was so adept at putting the ball right where it needed to be placed. Maybe it's getting the ball down into the dirt closer to home plate so it gets a higher hop and doesn't get to the infielders as quickly and forces the catcher to have to make a great play."
Hamilton went 3-for-6 Sunday, homering for the second consecutive day, to raise his average to .279 on the year and nudging his on-base percentage to .301.