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Hamilton's speed allows shallow play in center

Hamilton's speed allows shallow play in center

CINCINNATI -- Through the first two games of the regular season, Reds rookie Billy Hamilton has been positioning himself to be in shallow center field more often than predecessor Shin-Soo Choo.

With his speed, Hamilton can make catches running toward the wall look routine. But he could not catch up to Kolten Wong's eighth-inning double on Wednesday.

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"We encourage him to play a bit more shallow," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Thursday. "That ball Wong hit was going to go over his head, unless he is playing way back there by the warning track. He hit the ball real hard, it's a line drive. There's just no way to make up ground on that ball. He's going to take away lot of the balls in front of him. He's going to throw more guys out or have the chance to. He's got a good arm. He goes back extremely well for a young guy that hasn't been in center field a long time."

It helps Hamilton that Great American Ball Park lacks an expansive outfield -- especially up the middle.

"When we get to Colorado, we'll see exactly what we have," Price said.

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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