Votto, Phillips likely to be heart of Reds' order

Votto, Phillips likely to be heart of Reds' order

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Reds manager Bryan Price has yet to have his projected "everyday eight" all together in the lineup this spring. But Price has an idea of what the middle of his starting lineup might look like.

Joey Votto would likely bat third, followed by Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.

"If the season started today, that's the case with who we have on the field," Price said Tuesday. "Lineups for me are things that can always evolve and move around. Without having Devin [Mesoraco] playing yet and trying to find out who we have in left field, or left- or right-handed starter, it definitely could fluctuate. I'm pretty comfortable with Joey-Brandon three-four. And then because Jay hits left-handed pitching, I don't think he's going to be hitting seventh or eighth. But there could be some bouncing around between five and six based on who's pitching."

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Price was asked where third baseman Eugenio Suarez could bat.

"You really could see him probably two or six," Price said. "That would make the most sense with the way the club is shaping up right now. Maybe at seven. ... That two-spot seems like a good place for him, especially if Billy [Hamilton] is leading off and getting on base. That should give him some good pitches to hit. With Billy there, you don't really have to hit-and-run as much."

Left-field candidates performing

One of the fluid situations for the Reds this spring is left field, which is wide open for competition. Through the early games, Price has liked how some of the contenders have performed.

Schebler's two-run homer

"I know some guys are having better springs than others," Price said. "But it's a week. Some guys get off to great starts and finish slow and vice versa and everything in between.

"I've really enjoyed [Adam] Duvall and [Scott] Schebler and the energy we're getting from [Jake] Cave and from [Tyler] Holt. Holt, I'll tell you, he's an energy guy that can defend. He's given us good, competitive at-bats. We didn't see much of him last year. He was kind of a guy we signed last year to help us fill out our roster in September. And he's opened my eyes with the way he's played. I've been really happy to see that."

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.