Prospects revel in playing at Reds' home park

Prospects revel in playing at Reds' home park

CINCINNATI -- Each and every player in the USA and World clubhouses realize that being selected to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game means they are being prepped for bigger and better things down the road. For the three Reds in the game, it's an even more meaningful experience.

Cincinnati's three prospects -- outfielders Kyle Waldrop and Yorman Rodriguez and pitcher Amir Garrett -- had the chance Sunday afternoon to give the fans at Great American Ball Park a sneak preview of what they might bring one day in a Reds uniform.

"It was awesome," said Garrett, who was credited with the victory in a 10-1 U.S. Team win after he pitched the top of the third inning. "I was kind of nervous at the beginning. Once I got on the mound and got the first one out of the way, I was like, 'This is the same thing I do every day, just a bigger crowd.' I was thinking to myself in the bullpen, 'Do not pass out please.' It was great. It was a very good experience being here. The fans made it a lot better. I enjoyed my time here."

Garrett arrives for Futures Game

A member of Class A Advanced Daytona and the Reds' No. 4 ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, Garrett gave up one unearned run and two hits with one strikeout. He notched two quick outs, including a strikeout of his first batter, when a blooped single and passed ball led to an RBI single by Ketel Marte for the game's first run. The U.S. scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good.

Both Waldrop and Rodriguez played the entire game, and each played right field for their respective squads. Waldrop, the 12th-ranked prospect in the organization, was 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored in the sixth inning for the U.S., while the Venezuelan Rodriguez, the Reds' No. 9 prospect, went 0-for-4 for the World team.

"Today was a reality check. Just looking around at a big league stadium, you hope it's something that can happen [in the future]," said Waldrop, who was promoted last month to Triple-A Louisville.

In the fourth inning, Rodriguez nearly homered twice. A drive pulled to left field hooked foul before another drive to right field was caught on the warning track by Waldrop -- his Louisville teammate.

"We joked before the game, let it drop so we can get some hits," Waldrop said. "But I caught it. I couldn't really misplay that one."

Rodriguez, 22, has played in Great American Ball Park before as a September callup last season. He was also with the big league team after a Monday recall while the Reds were in Washington, but was optioned back to Louisville on Saturday. Rodriguez didn't mind being sent down.

"It's good. I get to come to Cincinnati and play," Rodriguez said. "I'll wait for the opportunity."

For Waldrop and Garrett, both 23 years old, the announced crowd of 43,661 fans was the largest they've ever played before. Waldrop once played in a Reds futures game a couple of years ago, but Garrett played in front of a stadium's third deck for the first time.

"Being invited is a big deal," Garrett said. "A lot of top Minor League talent is here. There's a lot of history with guys that are in MLB now. It's in our home ballpark. It's exciting and the fans are getting a first look at me, Yorman and Kyle. It's really a great feeling."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.