CINCINNATI — Billy Hamilton is throwing, but not like he usually throws.
The Reds center fielder is still dealing with the lingering effects of September surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder.
“It’s coming along well,” Hamilton said. “I’m not 100 percent yet. We have a schedule for me to be ready right around spring training. As of right now, we’re on track to make that happen …
"I’m throwing, hitting, lifting weights, doing therapy. I’m not limited to do anything right now. The shoulder feels good. I’m looking forward to going out to Arizona and doing more stuff."
Hamilton was injured making a diving catch on Aug. 18 and missed three weeks. He returned Sept. 9 and played until Sept. 16 before he aggravated the shoulder making a throw. That ended his season. He had surgery Sept. 25.
The training staff wants Hamilton to be patient.
“I could go out and throw long toss, but there’s no point in doing it. They want to make sure it’s healed,” he said.
Hamilton says he is pain-free for the most part, but throwing at certain arm angles can aggravate the shoulder.
Trainer Steve Bauman told him that’s normal, Hamilton said.
“I have to teach myself to throw the ball the right way all the time.”
This is a big year for Hamilton. He took a step back at the plate in 2015. He hit .226/.274/.289 after hitting .250/.292/.355 as a rookie in 2014.
It helps that he has been able to work his normal hitting program since Dec. 1. He has spent the offseason in Cincinnati working with Billy Hatcher.
“When you set a goal and you don’t get it, you have to do something in the offseason to get it,” Hamilton said. “Last year was nowhere near where I wanted to be. I feel like this year I’ll be better.”
SIGNING ON OR OFF? The Reds reportedly had a deal two weeks ago with Alfredo Rodriguez, a 21-year-old Cuban shortstop. The deal has not been officially announced.
Will it happen?
“I don’t know, things have kind of broke down,” Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said. "I don’t know if it’s going to happen. If it does, it’s going to take a while. We’re still out looking at other Cubans, too.”
MLB.com reported that the deal is for $6 million. The Reds would have to pay a 100 percent tax for exceeding their international signing pool. The deal would also prevent them from signing international players for more than $300,000 for the next two signing periods.
“There’s no deal,” Jocketty said. “There’s nothing to comment on.”
Rodriguez was the Rookie of the Year and won a Gold Glove in the Cuban national league in 2014-2015. He hit .265 with only four extra-base hits in 84 games for La Isla La Juventud.