Reds dismiss third-base coach; rest of staff remains intact

Steve Smith is out as Reds third-base coach, the team announced Monday while saying the rest of the staff would remain intact.

Returning to manager Bryan Price's coaching staff will be bench coach Jay Bell, hitting coach Don Long, assistant hitting coach Lee Tinsley, pitching coach Jeff Pico, bullpen coach Mack Jenkins, first-base coach Billy Hatcher, catching coach Mike Stefanski and coach Freddie Benavides.

Smith was let go after only one season in Cincinnati, in which the Reds led the Major Leagues with 28 non-force outs at home plate, including at least 10 runners waved home by Smith on hits.

"I was the fall guy," Smith told the Cincinnati Enquirer, which first reported his dismissal on Monday afternoon. "I don't want to sound like I'm being critical -- I loved my one year with Cincinnati, loved the players, loved everything."

Price defended Smith from criticism in September, citing the Reds' second-half offensive struggles for employing a more aggressive baserunning approach. That led to a more liberal use of the contact play, Price said, and to Smith being more apt to send runners home when he had an opportunity to force opposing teams to make a play.

 "I don't listen to any of that stuff," Price said last month. "[Previous third-base coach] Mark Berry talked about people in our ballpark getting on him a lot about decisions that he made. A lot of those decisions, No. 1, are made by the manager; a lot of them are consistent baseball decisions that are made around the big leagues, and it doesn't matter if it's Dusty Baker or Bryan Price or if it's Bobby Cox or if it's any of these other guys."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.