CINCINNATI -- Early arrivals at Great American Ball Park on Monday were surprised to see rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso on an empty field taking grounders at third base. Alonso, a first baseman by trade, struggled in left field this past weekend at Wrigley Field.
Reds manager Dusty Baker would like to have his bat in the lineup and with reigning National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto ensconced at first, Baker is looking for other ways to insert Alonso.
"You don't want to do this in the big leagues, but that's the position he started at," said Baker before the Reds opened a four-game series against the Rockies on Monday night. "[Third base] is a mirror image of first base, actually. Most first basemen, if they're not left-handed and have the arm, can play third. We'll see. We're trying to figure out the best place to get his bat in the lineup."
Alonso, 8-for-16 with a homer and four RBIs in the 10 games since he was brought up from the Minors on July 26, said he's played third base before and was certainly game to make the move.
"It's kind of natural to me," Alonso said about playing third base. "Let's say it's not as new as left field. I played there all my life. It's something I can do. Left field is tough and I'm trying to get better at it and first base is locked down. As long as I'm adequate out there at third -- and I think I am -- hopefully they'll give me a shot."
Alonso added, though, that he'd been given no indication by Baker when he might play third base in a game. With incumbent Scott Rolen on the disabled list after left shoulder surgery, the position is wide open at least for the time being.
"If you do [find out], let me know," said Alonso, the seventh overall pick by the Reds in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. "They haven't really told me. They just told me to work. Come in early every day and obviously I do. That's one thing I'm going to do. No question I'm going to work hard. Hopefully, I can get it done and play."
Baker, though, said there were no immediate plans of running Alonso back out there, during a game in left field.