Billy Hamilton dropped to eighth spot in Reds’ lineup

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Billy Hamilton hit leadoff in all 136 of his starts last season and he had again served as the Reds’ leadoff man in his first 33 starts this season. But that will change in Sunday’s series finale against the Giants.

Hamilton, who’s carrying a .212 batting average and .264 on-base percentage through his first 151 plate appearances this year, has been dumped to the eighth spot in the Reds’ batting order. It’ll be his first time hitting there in his young major league career.

“I just thought it made sense to take a look at getting some of our higher on-base guys at the top of the order,” Reds manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. “Just try to get some guys on base for the middle of the order guys and take a little bit of the load off. There’s this whole thing we’re always saying with Billy, ‘You go, we go.’ It really shouldn’t be that way — when we’re going, it’s because we’re all going. Because we’re all doing what we need to be doing collectively well. I think it’d be really nice to have Billy doing some things down at the bottom, maybe helping set the table for the top of the order.”

Zack Cozart is at leadoff and Brayan Pena is batting second on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.