Will the Reds have room for Alonso and Votto?

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Yonder Alonso was the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft and has since emerged as Cincinnati’s best prospect by hitting .293/.378/.459 in the minors, but now that he’s nearing the majors the Reds are starting to wonder where they’ll eventually play him.
Alonso has been exclusively a first baseman in the minors, but the Reds already have 26-year-old Joey Votto there and he just hit .312 with 25 homers and a .981 OPS last season. They could move Votto to left field, where he saw some sporadic action in the minors, but his glove figures to be mediocre at best out there compared to very good at first base.
“Joey is going to be at first base for a long time,” general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. “I don’t see moving Joey.” Instead the Reds are toying with the idea of having Alonso switch positions, giving him reps in left field and right field in addition to third base and even catcher.
“I’m doing everything and they’re trying everything so I can go up there,” Alonso said. “It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I play.” He definitely has the right attitude, but probably doesn’t have the necessarily skills to make it a reality, as Baseball America‘s latest scouting report says Alonso’s “limited range would be a liability” away from first base.
It doesn’t make much sense for the Reds to move their best player away from a position he thrives at and so far at least Alonso’s production at the plate hasn’t stood out nearly enough to warrant making him a defensive liability at a new position in order to get his bat into the lineup. All of which seemingly adds up to a trade, but with Alonso likely ticketed for Double-A and Triple-A this year the Reds have a bit more time to sort things out.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.