Hamilton must improve ability to make contact

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- During Friday's game against the Royals, top Reds prospect Billy Hamilton notched an eighth-inning single and his first two stolen bases of the spring. Hamilton took second base during a pickoff attempt and swiped third base two pitches later.

Manager Dusty Baker liked seeing the steals, but would like it even more if Hamilton made more contact at the plate. In 13 at-bats, he's batting .154 (2-for-13) with a team-leading seven strikeouts. He was 0-for-1 with a walk, a stolen base and a strikeout in Saturday's 4-0 loss against the White Sox.

"He has no chance to do anything when he strikes out," Baker said. "Probably half of those have been looking. Anytime he puts it in play, there's a chance of something happening."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.