Duvall looking to build off terrific spring

Duvall looking to build off terrific spring

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Adam Duvall wasn't sure exactly how many ticket requests he submitted for family and friends prior to Friday night's exhibition at Louisville's Slugger Field, but he knew it was a lot.

"He stole all mine," center fielder Billy Hamilton said, as Duvall laughed. "He stole everybody's ticket requests."

Duvall gave them their money's worth, going 2-for-2 with a ringing double off the center-field wall. He played four innings in left field in a 1-1 tie with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats.

He played 25 games for Triple-A Louisville in 2015 after being acquired in a trade with the San Francisco Giants. But, Friday night had a different feeling for the 28-year-old right-handed slugger.

"He's a big hit here in Louisville," said manager Bryan Price. "I expected a good reception tonight. To do some good things offensively, was a bonus."

Coming off an All-Star campaign during which he hit 33 home runs and registered 103 RBIs, Duvall is preparing to be begin the season as the Reds' regular left fielder, and hopefully build off last year's success.

"I had some success last year and I just want to get better," Duvall said. "There are certain parts of my game I want to get better and certain parts I want to maintain."

Duvall was honored at Slugger Field with his own bobblehead giveaway to 5,000 fans. He's a graduate of Louisville's Butler High School and played his junior and senior years at the University of Louisville.

"It's really cool to get to play in this stadium coming up a long way from when I was a little kid," Duvall said. "I remember being a young kid here and thinking, 'Man, the players are so big, they hit the ball so hard.' It's pretty exciting to play in front of my hometown fans."

Duvall provided one of the highlights of the spring on Wednesday when his first-inning solo homer off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco struck the left-field scoreboard.

Must C: Duvall hits scoreboard

In 20 games this spring, Duvall hit .302/.373/.679 with six homers and 15 RBIs.

"He had a terrific spring," said Price. "He hit a lot of balls hard early in the spring with not a lot to show for. We all think of him as the guy who hit 33 home runs, but he covets improvement. He's learning to battle with two strikes. He wants to get better. He's chasing greatness."

Iglesias on track

Raisel Iglesias pitched one inning with a strikeout in an exhibition game on Friday night, putting him on track for Opening Day.

Iglesias, 27, hadn't pitched since March 14 after suffering a bone bruise and injuring his hip falling in the shower.

"He was great," said Price. "The ball was jumping out of his hand. He was crisp. Couldn't have gone better."

Prior to the injuries, Iglesias allowed one earned run in seven innings with three walks and five strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. He's expected to join Michael Lorenzen, Tony Cingrani, and Drew Storen in a shared closer's role, which could include multiple-inning appearances.

Despite a stint on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement, Iglesias managed to make 37 appearances last season, all but five in relief, with a 1.98 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and six saves.

Hamilton eager for season

Hamilton didn't end last season on his own terms. After missing the final 27 games with a strained left oblique, he's especially eager to get the new season underway. And, he has no plans to be more tentative in center field.

"If there's a ball out there I can catch, I'm going to go for it," Hamilton said Friday.

The shoulder injury abruptly halted a breakout offensive season for Hamilton, who hit .260/.321/.343 with 19 doubles, three triples and 58 stolen bases.

"Just me being myself, not trying to be someone else," Hamilton said of his approach at the plate. "I'm not a power hitter. I need to come in there, relax, be myself, and hit line drives and focus on what kind of approach I need to have."

Hamilton was on the disabled list twice with a right shoulder injury in 2015, including the final week of the season.

In Friday's exhibition game, Hamilton singled to the opposite field, then scored on Joey Votto's single in the first inning.

"My main goal is to stay on the field," Hamilton said Friday. "I'm not going to tell myself not to run into those walls. That's the type of player I am."

Jeff Wallner is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Reds on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.