HOUSTON -- Since his highly-anticipated promotion to the Reds from Triple-A Louisville on July 26, Yonder Alonso was limited to pinch-hitting duty and entering on double switches. That changed on Monday against the Astros when Alonso made his first big league start in left field. He started three games at first base for the Reds last season.
A smaller left field at Minute Maid Park played a part in manager Dusty Baker's decision to start Alonso. It's only 315 feet to the wall at the foul line and 362 feet in left-center field.
"It's a big difference. That's what I tried to do over the years for Jonny Gomes," Baker said. "There is less ground to cover."
Having less ground to cover in Houston doesn't take away all the issues, however.
"The wall here presents a problem for anybody who hasn't played here. You don't know the caroms," Baker said. "The center fielder has big territory to cover, huge. You need [Drew] Stubbs or a rabbit out there for defense. Especially with Bronson [Arroyo] pitching and a fly-ball pitcher, it's very important that you try to have good outfield defense."
Alonso, who played 62 games in left field for Louisville this season as he converted from previously playing mostly first base, delivered three hits in his first four at-bats but went 0-for-3 in the 4-3 loss on Monday.