Sveum realistic about slowing down Reds prospect Billy Hamilton
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter September 8, 2013 6:36PM
Cincinnati Reds' Billy Hamilton leaves second base on a double by Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Cincinnati. Hamilton scored the only run of the game on the hit as the Reds won 1-0. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Updated: September 8, 2013 11:03PM
The Cubs will see first-hand the asset the Cincinnati Reds have in speedy prospect Billy Hamilton, who set a minor-league record of 155 steals last season.
Hamilton was brought up last Monday and in two games as a pinch runner has stolen bases and helped the Reds win against the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers.
‘‘One thing you learn about speed like that, the more you try to stop it, the more bad pitches you throw,’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘You don’t really stop that kind of speed. Otherwise people would have stopped it.
‘‘If you want to keep slide stepping [as a pitcher], keeping holding, keep throwing over, the next thing you know you’re giving up a two- or three-run homer because you’re so worried about something that has a 99 percent chance to happen anyway.’’
Sveum had a pinch-running specialist in Tony Campana last season.
‘‘The little playing time he had, he still won three or four games himself because of his speed,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘You put him in late in a game, and he was guaranteed of stealing the base. You didn’t have to worry about who was on the mound, how fast he was pitching, who was catching — the odds of throwing [Campana] out were 5 percent at the most.
‘‘Those guys change the game around late in the game, for sure.’’
Needing a W
The Cubs need two more victories to exceed last season’s total of 61, though avoiding another 100-loss season isn’t a grand accomplishment, Sveum admits.
‘‘Coming down the stretch [this year], we have a lot better pitching going out there every day,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s some satisfaction in that. But we’re a long way away from where we want to be.’’
To make room for Scott Baker on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated infielder Cody Ransom for assignment.
“Ransom has been here all year, and it’s kind of a weird time to designate someone. Those are unfortunate things but part of the business,’’ Sveum said.