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If needed, Hamilton an option at shortstop

If needed, Hamilton an option at shortstop

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Depending on the final roster decisions that are made this week, the Reds could break camp without a shortstop to back up Zack Cozart. Ramon Santiago is one of the candidates but is not a lock to make the team. The same goes for Chris Nelson, who played the spot in the Minors but barely in the Majors.

Third baseman Todd Frazier, who was drafted as a shortstop, could fill in, as he did for two games in 2011. He has played there once this spring. There is also another player who will make the team with 312 Minor League games played at shortstop: Billy Hamilton.

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Manager Bryan Price was asked if he would consider using Hamilton at shortstop this season.

"I think when you're out of shortstops. I don't want to see [reliever Logan] Ondrusek out there," Price said. "You always look at those worst-case scenarios. We've talked about Neftali Soto as a catcher. What a peace of mind you have if one of your catchers gets hurt and you pinch-hit or pinch-run for him, the other guy is in the game and takes a foul tip or something happens and you can't play and go, 'Boy, Joey Votto caught when he signed. Strap the gear on Joey and send him out there to catch.'

"There is a peace of mind knowing that at least they've done it. In Billy's case, he's done it a lot. In Nefi's case, not so much. Nevertheless, at least he has worked on it. That flexibility definitely gives you a calming sense that if you put Billy in that position or Nefi, at least they've done it before."

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.

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