Hamilton revs it back up for Reds

Speedy outfielder triples twice, sets Spring Training high for hits

Billy Hamilton has tripled three times this spring. All three have come in his last four games. (Mark Duncan/AP)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | March 27, 2014 6:49 PM ET

The biggest worry about Billy Hamilton entering Spring Training was his ability -- or lack thereof -- to get on base at a consistent rate. What's the one thing he's shown in Grapefruit League play? The ability to get on base at a consistent rate.

MLB.com's No. 37 prospect went 3-for-4 with two triples, one RBI and a run scored Thursday afternoon to lead the Reds to a 9-1 split-squad win over the D-backs.

Hamilton opened the bottom of the first inning with his first three-bagger of the afternoon off Arizona starter Randall Delgado and came around to score on Brandon Phillips' groundout. He added an RBI single in the second frame and another triple in the fourth to give him three hits in his first three plate appearances. Hamilton grounded out to end the seventh before being taken out for a defensive replacement in the eighth.

The 23-year-old speedster raised his spring average to .327 with the performance. His 3-for-4 showing came on the heels of two straight hitless games. Nonetheless, Hamilton has multiple hits in four of his last seven games and is 10-for-26 with three triples, four RBIs and two stolen bases in that span.

The Reds' No. 2 prospect is coming off a 2013 season in which he slashed .256/.308/.343 with 75 steals for Triple-A Louisville. He will be Cincinnati's Opening Day center fielder and leadoff man come Monday against the Cardinals.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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