CINCINNATI -- Before Wednesday night's 8-2 loss to the Mets, Dusty Baker seemed less than enthusiastic about Yonder Alonso's ability to play left field.
"I've heard he's OK," Baker said. "I've heard he needs some work, and we'll see. Everybody can't play left field. ... Yonder is more of a first baseman than he is a left fielder; speed is the question, and range. We'll see how it works out."
In fact, Alonso's adjustment to roaming the outfield seemed to be what confined him to Triple-A Louisville for so long. But Baker brought the 24-year-old into Wednesday's game as part of an eighth-inning double switch -- and so far, so good.
Alonso only saw one ball hit his direction, but he got a good break on it and made a sliding catch in foul territory in the top of the ninth.
"I definitely was not expecting that," he said.
At the end of the inning, Alonso received plenty of dap from teammates and coaches, including Baker, who left his usual post and walked across the dugout to give Alonso a fist bump.
Alonso, whose 6-foot-2, 240-pound frame doesn't equate to agile defensive gems, told outfield coach Billy Hatcher that he wants to come in early every day before games to get extra work in left field. He plans on doing drills six hours before opening pitch, at least for night games.
He said he had a similar routine while he was with Louisville.
"I'm going to be out here grinding, getting ready, getting after it," he said. "It's going to be good. At the end of the day, it's going to pay off for myself, but it's [also] going to pay off for the team."