CINCINNATI (AP) — Hoping to spark a struggling offense, the slumping Cincinnati Reds promoted another top prospect on Monday and inserted Christian Encarnacion-Strand into the starting lineup against San Francisco for his major league debut.
The 23-year-old infielder flied out to right in his first at-bat, hitting seventh as the designated hitter. According to Major League Baseball, at 27 characters his name is the longest in big league history, five longer than Minnesota pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson. MLB included the hyphen in its count.
Encarnacion-Strand was among four rookies in the Reds starting lineup, joining third baseman Elly De La Cruz, shortstop Matt McLain and pitcher Brandon Williamson.
“It means a lot,” Encarnacion-Strand said. “Now I get to play with a really, really good group of guys. The guys have been always welcoming. The same thing in spring training, the were super, super nice to me. I don’t feel pressure or anxiety to go in there with them.”
A native of Walnut Creek, California, Encarnacion-Strand hit .331 with 21 doubles, 20 homers and 62 RBIs with a 1.042 OPS in 67 games this year for Triple-A Louisville. He led the International League with 177 total bases.
“He’s played well,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said “He deserved a shot with Kevin on the injured list. “It was the perfect time to bring him up. “He made adjustments over the last couple of months. He is taking better at bats. With that he’s still shown power. … He has been able to hit outside of the zone but cutting down his chase rate brought the zone more to him. It allowed him to get better at the Triple A level.”
Infielder Kevin Newman was placed on the 10-day injured list with gastritis, a move retroactive to Friday.
Cincinnati entered Monday with a four-game losing streak after getting swept in a three-game series at Milwaukee. The Reds were shut out in three straight games before Sunday’s 4-3 loss.
Encarnacion-Strand was Minnesota’s fourth-round pick in the 2021 amateur draft. He was acquired last August with infielder/outfielder Spencer Steer and left-hander Steve Hajjar for right-hander Tyler Mahle.