PITTSBURGH -- Blazin' Billy Hamilton is as big a superstar as a pinch-runner can reasonably be.
But while Hamilton's impact on the Reds has been immediate enough to earn him a spot on the postseason roster, manager Dusty Baker wasn't quite ready to upgrade him from his current bench role in the National League Wild Card Game against the Pirates.
"People are making a starter out of him ahead of schedule because he's so exciting," Baker said. "But let's not forget he just started switch-hitting a year ago. He just started playing center field a year ago. He has some things to learn offensively, because, remember, he was hitting .251 [in Triple-A Louisville]."
Besides, Baker had no intention of resting center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, or corner outfielders Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick, for that matter.
But the Reds certainly saw enough value in Hamilton's legs -- he stole 13 bases in 14 attempts after his September promotion -- to keep him around.
"I try to put guys in a situation where they'll most likely succeed," Baker said.
Hamilton did not see action in the Reds' 6-2 season-ending loss.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.