Getting shifty with Duvall not advised

Getting shifty with Duvall not advised

ST. LOUIS -- For a few years, left-handed hitters have often seen their production neutralized by defensive shifts to the right side. It's occasionally happening to right-handed hitters, as well. Reds left fielder Adam Duvall, a right-handed hitter, has been shifted multiple times since Spring Training and during the first three games of the regular season.

Duvall successfully beat the shift twice against the Phillies. Leading off the fourth inning of Thursday's 7-4 win and seeing one infielder on the right side, Duvall was able to hit an 0-2 curveball on the outer half of the plate through a barren spot near second base for a single to start a three-run rally.

"I would like to be able to hit it through that hole if the pitch is there. But I'm just really looking to drive the ball. I don't want to manipulate it much," Duvall said Friday. "If they do give me the pitch to do that, I want to be able to do that."

On Monday during a 4-3 loss to Philadelphia, Duvall saw a similar shift, but instead scorched a line drive through the left side for a single.

"My goal isn't to hit ground balls. If I am doing what I need to do, I am driving the ball. It's not a consideration," Duvall said. "That was hard enough, they would have had to be playing right where it was hit. Is it frustrating when a ball up the middle doesn't go for a hit when in the past it maybe would have? Yeah, when you think about it. But then you get ones like I got the other day."

If Duvall becomes routinely successful at beating the shift -- especially to the right side with two strikes -- teams would likely have to play more traditional defensive alignments.

"The thing with Adam is when he's doing well, he's driving the ball out to right-center," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We saw a lot of that last year. It's indicative of not necessarily just trying to shove a ball over to the right side, but cover a bigger portion of the plate."

Duvall also likes sliders

• In the seventh inning Thursday, Duvall slugged a 2-2 slider from Adam Morgan for a two-run home run. Last season, according to Statcast™, Duvall led the Majors with 11 homers against sliders, which was the most for him off any pitch type among his 33 home runs overall. His .594 slugging percentage last season also led the Majors among batters with at least 100 at-bats that ended with sliders.

Worth noting

• Pitcher Bronson Arroyo will be added to the 25-man roster to start Saturday. A 40-man roster spot was cleared Friday when outfielder Tyler Goeddel cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. Goeddel was claimed off waivers from Philadelphia on Wednesday. Price declined to tip the other corresponding move coming for Arroyo, but said his club would return to having eight relievers instead of nine.

"It's one of those things you don't want to talk about until you actually make the move to allow him on to the 25-man roster," Price said.

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