After Hamilton hit nine homers in 2002 for Class A Bakersfield, injuries and suspensions for substance abuse kept the 1999 first overall draft pick out of baseball from 2003-2006. The only 15 games he played in that four-year span came for the Devil Rays' Class A affiliate at Hudson Valley last summer."Man, it was good to be back under the sun, playing, and being in the dugout with teammates," said Hamilton, who played right field and was 2-for-4 in the game. Cincinnati would risk losing Hamilton if it doesn't keep him on the 25-man roster all season. Reds manager Jerry Narron said that Hamilton is going to get all the swings he needs to catch up and try and earn a spot out of camp. "That's not going to change if he goes 0-for-50. He'll still get at-bats," Narron said before the game. "At some point, it'll click for him. He's got too much ability for it not to click." Milton's day: A total of seven home runs were hit in the game. Reds starter Eric Milton gave up two of them, including one to leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen in the first inning. Milton allowed two earned runs and six hits with a walk and no strikeouts. It was his first game action since he left the mound with a bad elbow in September at Chicago. He had arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 22. "I felt fine," Milton said. "That's all I was really looking for. I felt good and everything felt good. That's a plus. It's just getting out there and getting your feet wet again." Wilson pleased: Right-hander Paul Wilson followed Milton and allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in two innings with two strikeouts. Wilson also allowed one homer, but had several sharp moments. The 34-year-old Wilson, in camp as a non-roster player, is trying to return from his shoulder surgery of June 2005. He was unable to appear in a big-league game last season, including spring exhibitions. This spring, he's throwing without limitation and enjoying it. "I know it's early, but I was pitching like there was no tomorrow," Wilson said. "Like it was the seventh game of the World Series. So it's nice to have confidence you can do everything you want to do and not hurt every time you throw. I could more or less be a pitcher again. It's been a long time since I felt like that." Griffey swings: Back at the Reds complex Thursday morning, Ken Griffey Jr. tested his left hand with his first batting practice session. Griffey, who broke the hand in December while wrestling with his kids, took six rounds of batting practice for a total of 45 swings and reported no problems. Signings: Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, outfielder Norris Hopper, pitcher Elizardo Ramirez and infielder Jeff Keppinger were signed to one-year contracts Thursday. 'B' game: The Reds and Pirates have scheduled a 10 a.m. ET "B" game Sunday at Pittsburgh's spring complex. Bronson Arroyo will start the game for Cincinnati. Top pitching prospect Homer Bailey will start Sunday's scheduled 1 p.m. "A" game vs. the Pirates at McKechnie Field. Coming up: Starter Kyle Lohse will face his former team when the Reds play the Twins at Fort Myers Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Former Reds pitcher Ramon Ortiz will start for Minnesota.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.