GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- On the first day of Cactus League games for the Reds, Scott Schebler got off to a nice start in his efforts to win the open spot in left field. Schebler hit a home run, drew a walk and made a game-saving catch in Cincinnati's 6-5 win over the Indians on Tuesday.
Entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth against Felipe Paulino, Schebler -- ranked by MLBPipeline as the Reds' No. 16 prospect -- lifted a 1-0 pitch into the bullpen in left-center field. The solo shot gave Cincinnati a 6-2 lead.
"I think it was either a two-seam [fastball] or a changeup. It's so early on right now, I may have changeup bat speed right now, I have no idea," said Schebler, who also walked in the eighth. "It's Arizona. It just pushes here. I got it decent, but I didn't get it all. I'm just trying to make good swings right now."
As Reds reliever A.J. Morris struggled to get through the bottom of the eighth following two walks and two errors by third baseman Jordan Pacheco, Cleveland made it a 6-5 game. With the bases loaded and two outs, Robbie Grossman skied a drive to the left-field wall where Schebler tracked the ball.
Short of the fence, Schebler made a leaping catch that prevented extra bases and kept the Indians from taking the lead. It wasn't a pretty play, but it was effective.
"I should have listened to my center fielder," Schebler explained. "I didn't even have to jump for that ball, honestly. I could have just backed up against the wall. Jumping, I thought the fence was there kind of a thing, and then I folded into a lawn chair."
Following the fall on to his backside, it took a couple of moments for Schebler to produce the ball from his glove before the Indians and Grossman realized he was out and the inning was over.
"My sunglasses came off and everything," Schebler said. "I landed like a ton of rocks right there. I didn't know I had the ball either. I felt my back hit the ground. Thank goodness for some padding down there. I thought I was against the wall. I took two hard steps on the warning track. The warning track here is a lot bigger than normal places. I jumped up thinking the fence was going to be there, and it wasn't there to catch me."
Acquired from the Dodgers in December's three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox, Schebler is among several players in Reds camp seeking to start in left field or a land a role on the bench. He is competing against Adam Duvall, Yorman Rodriguez, Jake Cave and top prospect Jesse Winker.