Negron to Return to Louisville

Negron to Return to Louisville

At this stage of his career Kristopher Negron is probably known more for his minor league experience than upside projections. The Reds re-signed him to provide depth at Louisville and he acquitted himself well in limited Cactus League action. An injury in the outfield provided his MBL debut last year and the utilityman will continue to work for another opportunity in 2013.

Countdown to opening day: 5 days. One of the final roster spots up for grabs in Cincinnati this season is reserve spot for a middle infield utilityman. Come opening day it will probably belong to either Jason Donald who is already on the 40-man roster or 33 year-old Cesar Izturis, a former All-Star in camp on a minor league contract. Also in contention is former Giants first round pick Emmanuel Burris as top infield prospect Henry Rodriguez is expected to resume development at Louisville. Off the radar is Kristopher Negron who has been in the Reds system since coming over from Boston in a 2009 trade for Alex Gonzalez.

Now 27 years old Negron is more of a suspect than a prospect and may be considered more of a filler. He did make his MLB debut last season as an outfielder when Drew Stubbs was injured. He re-signed to return to the Cincinnati organization this year and has hit over .400 in limited Cactus League action. Spring training performances often have little influence on personnel decisions and that won't be enough to merit a spot on the Reds opening day roster, but for a veteran farmhand like Negron it's better to have a good one than a bad one.

Negron hasn't put up numbers at the highest minor league level to return serious consideration for extensive major league duty, hitting only .216 in over 200 AAA games. The main thing he contributes is versatility for multiple infield positions and spot duty in the outfield. He would help his cause tremendously by improving with the bat. Matching his AA performance of .267/.362 OB would garner some serious attention. He even slugged eleven homers at Carolina in 2010.

The first thing he needs to do now is force his way to significant action with the Bats. Players listed above not on the opening day roster figure to have the inside track for jobs in the infield. The outfield will be more crowded this year too as Pensacola players advance. Still, you can't keep a good bat down and it's important for Negron to show he can swing one against International League pitching.

This will be the fifth year for Negron in the Reds farm system and it's a bit of a surprise to see him still around. He's an 06 seventh rounder who was a return from a salary dump at the trade deadline and expectations were probably that he'd be moved up or moved out by now. Multiple trades and promotions left a void at the AAA level of the Reds organization one year ago in which he saw a lot of action. It won't be so easy this year as prospects from lower levels move up into it, but Negron is still hanging around. Though he's not high on the organizational depth chart the opportunity could still be there to move up if he can force the issue.

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