Reds unsure if Hamilton will be on playoff roster

Reds unsure if Hamilton will be on playoff roster

CINCINNATI -- Billy Hamilton has been with the Reds for about three weeks, but it didn't take him long to become one of the most talked about players on the team. Along those lines, the prevailing question around Great American Ball Park remains: Will the lightning fast outfielder be a part of the postseason roster come next week?

"We still haven't decided," manager Dusty Baker said before Tuesday's game against the Mets. "There's a lot of variables here and a lot of things we have to decide. I know Billy is the topic of the day, and they're selling T-shirts up there already. It's just that, that's not the focal point of where we're going. Billy is a possible part for that."

Since being called up on Sept. 2, Hamilton has been electrifying, converting on each of his first 13 Major League steal attempts entering Tuesday. At the plate, he's been better than expected, going 6-for-14 (.429) with a pair of doubles and an RBI. He's scored nine runs -- two of which were game-winners while one tied a game late and another put the Reds ahead in extra innings.

Although Baker has been pleased with everything he's seen out of Hamilton, he said there's various factors in play when putting together a playoff roster.

"Who do you delete to take his place?" Baker said. "Thing is, Billy, is he ready to handle that pressure? And not only baserunning, which he can probably handle, but is he ready to start a game, or is he ready to come off the bench and get some hits that you might need. There's a lot of factors here. Is he Willie McGee maybe?"

McGee was an outfielder who played primarily for the Cardinals. In his rookie season in 1982, McGee stole the show in St. Louis' championship run and became one of just three rookies to hit two homers in a World Series game.

Hamilton's speed makes him a dangerous weapon, but he's also been able to learn a great deal since being called up about other aspects and nuances. Along with having his former Minor League manager, Delino DeShields, with him in the dugout, Hamilton has taken tips from former Reds great Eric Davis. Like Hamilton, Davis made the switch from infield to outfield before breaking through to the Majors, and Hamilton said that has been a big help.

While he waits to find out if he'll make the postseason roster, Hamilton said he's just enjoying the ride and trying to soak up as much information as possible.

"I wasn't expecting to come in and get all this attention so quickly," Hamilton said. "But it's been a blessing. I'm having fun and just looking to do what I can for the team and hopefully get some more wins."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.