Getting at-bats for Peraza a priority for Reds

Getting at-bats for Peraza a priority for Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When it comes to finding a spot for Jose Peraza to play this season, Reds manager Bryan Price knows he could have a challenge on his hands. Peraza can play three positions -- second base, shortstop and center field -- and all three spots are expected to be manned by veteran everyday players.

If Peraza makes the club out of camp, getting him enough at-bats to develop as a hitter will be of prime importance. If that playing time isn't there, he could get it at Triple-A Louisville.

"If it's multiple positions or if it's one position, I just want him to play," Price said before Friday's 4-3 loss to the Giants. "In my opinion, it wouldn't help his development to spend the season getting 220 at-bats for us. I think he's got to be a guy that gets more regular playing time than that. That might be on our club. If No. 1, we're healthy, then I'm going to have to do some real creative managing to get him to move around and play enough. If we're not healthy, there's probably a spot for him if he has a good spring."

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The Reds acquired Peraza, ranked as the team's No. 5 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, from the Dodgers in December's three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox with the expectation Peraza would be their second baseman of the future. Brandon Phillips, who declined offseason trade attempts with his veto rights, remains the everyday second baseman. Zack Cozart, expected to be 100 percent healthy after reconstructive right knee surgery last year, will be the regular shortstop. Center field will be manned by Billy Hamilton.

Peraza, who will turn 22 on April 30, started at shortstop vs. the Giants on Friday. It was the position he played on his way up the Braves system until he was blocked by Andrelton Simmons. The Braves traded Peraza -- a .302 hitter over five Minor League seasons -- to the Dodgers in July.

"I don't think he has to get 600 at-bats to continue to grow," Price said. "I do think there is a low end that we would have to look at as far as really slowing his development. I think that would really be a guy that's used off of the bench, he's just not going to scoop up enough at-bats there to continue to develop. We think this is a kid that we think can be a really special offensive player."

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.