MIAMI -- Back in Spring Training, when outfielder Dave Sappelt batted .564, fans were clamoring for him to make the Reds out of camp. However, manager Dusty Baker repeatedly said at the time that there was more for Sappelt to learn than just hitting.
During Sappelt's first callup, he hasn't carved up opposition pitching quite the same. That made Tuesday's three-hit game during an 8-6 win over the Marlins one to savor. It also raised the rookie's batting average from .209 to .250.
"I've been struggling here recently," Sappelt said. "I talked to my dad [Monday] night and he said, 'They're beating you with fastballs.' That's a thing you can always overcome. Once they're beating you with breaking balls, you're in a titanic struggle. Since they were just beating me with fastballs, I had to eventually come out of it."
During Cincinnati's four-run ninth-inning rally, Sappelt saw three fastballs from closer Leo Nunez before hitting a 1-2 hanging changeup for a two-run double to left field that scored the tying run.
To improve his long-term chances to stay with the Reds, Sappelt will have to upgrade his overall play in the field and on the bases. In the previous series at Pittsburgh, he looked tentative on a couple of balls and once missed a cutoff man.
"Most guys have something to work on," Baker said on Wednesday. "Very few guys come from the Minors that are totally big league ready. I don't, but most people go on offensive production and batting averages vs. the total game. If you're going to win in the big leagues, you want guys that have the total game. In the last decade, you do as much teaching at the big league level as ever before.
"Baserunning, hitting the cutoff man, secondary leads, bunting, when to take and when to swing, getting signs ... these are some of the things that you keep stressing and stressing and talking about every day."