Waldrop works to add first base to repertoire

Improving versatility key for prospect to find role with Reds

Waldrop works to add first base to repertoire

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Primarily an outfielder, Reds prospect Kyle Waldrop has been wearing a first baseman's glove more than usual in the early days of camp. Waldrop has done drills there and has gotten into some games at the corner-infield position.

With the 23-year-old Waldrop being a lefty hitter and thrower, there are limited ways to increase versatility.

"I think versatility in Kyle's situation is only going to improve his opportunity to find a role on this particular club," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We saw last year when Joey [Votto] went down, it was open tryouts for first basemen when I didn't want to use Todd [Frazier] over there. So I think it just adds value."

Waldrop played six games at first base last season in the Minors.

"I feel like I'm making good adjustments over there. I'm still working to master it," Waldrop said. "They told me I'm an outfielder first but that first base is an option, especially with double switches, pinch-hitting and stuff like that."

The organization's Minor League hitter of the year for 2014, it can't hurt to find added ways to keep Waldrop's bat in a lineup. He has hit the ball hard in camp and doubled in his first game of spring vs. the Indians on Tuesday.

"I feel great. I still have to work on timing," Waldrop said. "It's early in camp. The swing feels good."

Last season for Class-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola, Waldrop batted a combined .338/.385/.516 with 37 doubles, 14 home runs and 67 RBIs. He also hit .300 in the Arizona Fall League after the season.

Added to the 40-man roster in the fall, this is Waldrop's first Major League camp at Spring Training. In past years, he has made cameo appearances when summoned into big league games from Minor League camp.

"Being here full time is awesome," he said. "Everyone in the clubhouse is great. Working with everyone, especially the veteran guys who have been open to talk to and stuff, it's been good."

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.