Yonder Alonso returns to scene of tough weekend

CHICAGO -- One of the toughest weekends of the nascent big league career of Reds rookie Yonder Alonso came at Wrigley Field one month ago. Alonso struggled when he played left field in a series that included one Tony Campana drive down the line that got past him for an inside-the-park home run. Reds manager Dusty Baker didn't start Alonso there again for over a week, and even tried moving the natural first baseman over to third base.

Yet on Monday in the series opener vs. the Cubs, Baker had Alonso starting in left field.

"It's hard to pick the spot. I thought it would be easier here if there was no wind, because there is less territory," Baker said. "You don't have the sun field. Here, it's a sun field in center early and right field late. We'll probably have to make a decision once we get to the huge Coors Field. That's a lot of ground to cover."

Alonso's bat has been a plus to the lineup, as he came in batting .380 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. His two-out single in the 10th inning led to the go-ahead run to beat the Cardinals on Sunday. His seventh-inning, two-run homer on Friday also contributed to a win.

In recent starts in left field, Alonso has performed competently.

"He hasn't had a whole bunch of tough plays, yet," Baker noted. "We try to position him the best we can to give him less ground to cover. Part of playing the outfield is positioning, too. It helps when your pitchers are throwing the ball in the location where they're supposed to throw it, so you can position your defense accordingly."

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