Bourgeois, Boesch add depth to Reds' stacked outfield

Veterans provide versatility, even with Schumaker and Negron slotted in

Bourgeois, Boesch add depth to Reds' stacked outfield

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- No matter who takes the spots on the Reds bench when the season opens, manager Bryan Price is likely to have plenty of options on his lineup card for backup outfielders.

Price knew that the Reds were set with all three starting outfield positions before they even set foot in Arizona for Spring Training -- with left fielder Marlon Byrd, center fielder Billy Hamilton and right fielder Jay Bruce. The board of players in the manager's office remains long after that.

"Well, we're going to have to cut that group down a little bit," Price said on Wednesday.

Skip Schumaker is already locked in for a bench spot as he can play all three outfield positions and second base. Kristopher Negron, who is also likely to make the team, can play all three outfield spots and every position in the infield except first base.

But the choices don't stop there.

"Along with the starters, you have two guys there that are capable of playing the outfield very well and then you have to look between Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch, that group," Price said. "There's a good chance at least one of those guys would be on the club as well at this point. They're both playing well and both could help us. I don't want to use the word 'surplus,' but we could have a rather large group of guys that, even if it's not their primary position, they're capable of playing the outfield very well."

Boesch's RBI single

Bourgeois is on the 40-man roster and brings speed and versatility at all three spots. Boesch is a non-roster invite that brings something the bench currently lacks: power. He's also left-handed and can play all of the outfield positions. Price has been impressed with Boesch's play in center field, and he has also gotten some time to practice at first base -- a versatility that could help his chances if something happens to regular first baseman Joey Votto.

"He's taking regular ground balls, and I'd like to get him into ballgames here this spring just to make sure he's comfortable in the game environment," Price said.

Also in camp among the outfielders are Donald Lutz, Kyle Waldrop and non-roster invitee Felix Perez. This is the first big league camp for both Waldrop and Perez. Lutz has had been in the Majors for parts of the past two seasons, but is a rare player with a fourth Minor League option left.

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.