Negron parlays hot hand into more starts

Negron parlays hot hand into more starts

PITTSBURGH -- The Reds have featured 105 lineups this season, not counting the pitcher's spot, but manager Bryan Price wrote out the same top eight for the third game in a row on Friday. It's only the second time he's done that all season.

"Continuity, wow. It's a new managerial style," Price joked.

Largely because of injuries, Price has used his projected Opening Day lineup just 12 times in 2014.

"You like to have continuity in your lineup, because what that typically represents is productivity -- health, No. 1, productivity, No. 2," he said. "We haven't had any true continuity for the bulk of the season."

For the fourth straight game and fifth time in six games, rookie utility player Kristopher Negron started at third base, with Todd Frazier moved to first. Negron has had a hot hand lately at the plate, and has also played good defense.

"It's a great opportunity for Kris," Price said. "He's given us a boost. It's not necessarily statistical stuff, it's from an energy perspective. It's like you're playing with fresh legs."

Negron, 28, logged 3,250 Minor League at-bats and played four Major League games for the Reds in June 2012. Shortly after returning to Triple-A Louisville, he sustained a catastrophic injury to his right knee while playing left field, and he didn't get back to the big leagues until July 10 of this season.

"It feels great to get this opportunity. Coming off the knee surgery, I wasn't sure I would come back healthy enough to get the opportunity again," Negron said. "I'm very lucky and grateful. I just try to play hard every day and be a sparkplug still."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for 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.