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Reds manager Bryan Price says newcomers Ryan Raburn and Desmond Jennings won't platoon

Reds manager Bryan Price says newcomers Ryan Raburn and Desmond Jennings won't platoon
Posted at 3:07 PM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 15:30:16-05

GOODYEAR, Arizona -- When the Reds added Desmond Jennings and Ryan Raburn, it was for bench help. To manager Bryan Price’s way of thinking, that means a limited number of starts, i.e. not platooning.

Raburn is a much better hitter against left-handers, so it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that he would get at-bats against left-handers over Scott Schebler, a left-handed hitter.

“I’m not into a platoon until they’ve played themselves into a platoon,” Price said. “If the numbers are so glaring that it just makes sense, I would consider it. At this point in time, I’m not considering using any regular position players in a platoon.

“I certainly have to look to make sure regulars get rest and the bench players get starts to make their bench performances efficient. It’s always a challenge, but when you look up, bench guys have somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 to 250 or sometimes more at-bats.”

Price did say that both Jennings and Raburn could make the club. Raburn has played 145 games at second base and 37 at third base in his career, but Price does not plan to use him at either position on any kind of regular basis.

“It would be more of an emergency,” Price said. “I told him I really want him to work on the corner outfield spots and some first base. In 2012, I think he had about 30 games in the infield, mostly at second base. Since then, it’s been about eight games total.

“I really see him as a corner outfielder, first baseman, then in a pinch, extra innings, if we need him to play second or third we could do that.”

RULE 5: The Reds added catcher Stuart Turner by picking him from Minnesota in the Rule 5 Draft.

In order to keep him, the Reds must have Turner on the roster all year. That will be difficult to do if Devin Mesoraco is healthy.

“I think he has to be the player that we think he is,” Price said. “We get a six-, seven-week look at him to see if he’s ready to handle what would be a year of big league service time. He’d have to play. I just don’t think we’re in a place to carry a player just to keep him."

Price added that having Turner will keep the Reds from rushing Mesoraco's return from last year's hip surgery.

The Reds also added Rob Brantly, 27, who hit .244 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma last year.

GUTIERREZ TO START: Vladimir Gutierrez, the 21-year-old Cuban right-hander, will prepare as a starter.

“At this point in time, there’s no need to look at him in any other capacity, any other role, simply because he’s too young,” Price said. “I’m a big believer that young pitchers that are your top prospects should start until they define themselves as a reliever.”

The Reds signed Gutierrez for $4.75 million. His fastball tops out at 96. Baseball America rates him as the ninth best prospect in the Reds' system.