Hamilton returns to Reds from bereavement list

Hamilton returns to Reds from bereavement list

CLEVELAND -- Billy Hamilton wasn't just ready to get back to work after a tough personal loss in his family -- the Reds' center fielder was also one of the first players to arrive at Progressive Field on Monday afternoon. Hamilton was reinstated from the bereavement list while the Reds optioned reliever Drew Hayes to Triple-A Louisville.

Last Tuesday, Hamilton's three-year-old nephew, K.C. Cole, died in a car accident. On Thursday, Hamilton traveled home for the funeral in Mississippi and missed the three-game series at Philadelphia over the weekend.

"Family is always good to be around, just not under that circumstance and everything," Hamilton said. "It was good to be there with my family just to show my support and be with them those few days. But my happy place is here, and this is exactly where I want to be at to get my mind off of things. My little man would want me to be here. … He watches me every day, and I'm pretty sure he's watching me now, up high."

Hamilton appreciated the outpouring of support he received from his Reds family.

"These guys had my back with calls and texts all weekend. Guys sent flowers and everything," Hamilton said.

Hamilton was not in Monday's starting lineup vs. the Indians while Jose Peraza got the start. But he did enter the 15-6 loss as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. He bounced a grounder for a force at second base and beat out a potential double play.

"I just wanted to give him a day to get settled back in," said manager Bryan Price, who noted Hamilton would start on Tuesday. "He's gone four days without any activity tending to his family matters. I told him this morning that he would have a day."

"I had enough to time to get in, I got a bunch of swings in. Batting practice will be good for me, shagging and getting fly balls and getting used to it and everything," Hamilton said.

Although Major League rules curtail alterations to the uniform for personal tributes, Hamilton planned to do something subtle to pay homage to his nephew.

"He'll be with me all the time," Hamilton said. "I have his picture in my locker. I know who I am playing for. I wanted to be involved in his life and happiness. I'll do everything in my power to make him happy."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.