GOODYEAR, Arizona -- Billy Hamilton was as close to Brandon Phillips as any Red.
“It’s tough,” Hamilton said. “It’s kind of like the Jay Bruce trade. You’re comfortable being around some people. Brandon was like a big brother to me. You hate to see those guys go. You always want what’s best for them and what’s best for the team.
“On the opposite side, as a friend, you want them to be around. It was tough for me (Sunday).”
Phillips brought a lightness to the game.
“Not too many people come to the field and be happy all the time,” Hamilton said. “He was one of those guy who came in with fun, laughter every single day. It’s going to be hard to overcome that.
“I was getting calls: ‘Billy, you’ve got to take over for Brandon.’ Those are big shoes to fill -- the way he treated the fans. Everybody in Cincinnati loved him.”
1-2 PUNCH: Hamilton looks forward to being at the top of the order with Jose Peraza, who is just a shade slower than Hamilton.
“It’s going to be fun with the things he can do on the bases,” Hamilton said. “There are things I can help him with. I kind of did a little bit at the end of the season when he started stealing bases. He came to me with questions about stealing bases and different pitchers.”
Peraza was reluctant at first until the tips paid off.
“Then he was like, ‘oh yeah, you’re right,'” Hamilton said. “It should be fun. He’s not afraid.”