CINCINNATI -- To make room on the roster for the callup of top prospect Jay Bruce, the Reds designated first baseman Scott Hatteberg for assignment on Tuesday. Hatteberg was batting .173 with no home runs and seven RBIs in 34 games this season. The 38-year-old's playing time became very limited early on once rookie Joey Votto became the everyday first baseman. "Scott's a class guy," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He's obviously contributed a lot here over the years. But he wasn't going to get enough playing time. Joey Votto has proven he can play first base every day. We felt it was the right move to make."
Although used primarily as a pinch-hitter after Votto took over, Hatteberg never got comfortable in that role. He was 1-for-17 during his pinch-hit at-bats. The Reds have 10 days to trade Hatteberg, or he could be claimed off of waivers. If neither happens, he would become a free agent. Votto arrived as a September callup last season and Hatteberg knew his days in Cincinnati were numbered. A highly respected veteran, he used his remaining time to help Votto get adjusted to the Major Leagues -- including during Spring Training when both players competed for the same job. "He gave me advice," Votto said. "His thing was if you're a rookie, and act like a rookie, he'll treat you like a rookie. If you know how to do the baseball thing, he'll leave you alone." Before Hatteberg cleaned out his locker and headed out, Votto had a chance to say goodbye and thank you. "He might be the epitome of professionalism," Votto said. "He was a good guy, a good role model and to be honest with you, Jay is missing out. You watch certain guys and you learn things. Scott is a prototype." If Hatteberg isn't picked up by another club, Cincinnati would be responsible for paying the remainder of his $1.85 million salary for this season. Hatteberg signed with the Reds as a free agent just before Spring Training in 2006. Last season, he batted .310 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs before the team exercised his 2008 club option.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.