CINCINNATI -- Tyler Holt went to spring training with the Cincinnati Reds as a competitor with primarily Adam Duvall for the starting job in left field.
Duvall nailed that job down pretty quickly and shows no signs of letting go, but that didn't mean Holt was out of work. He became Cincinnati's fourth outfielder and, for at least the next few days, he will be the Reds' regular center fielder while Billy Hamilton is on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
The Reds conclude a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday and Holt figures to again be in the starting lineup.
Holt started his third consecutive game in center field on Saturday, giving him 16 starts this season - three each in left and right fields and 10 in center. He singled and turned in a two-out diving catch of a sinking line drive that helped the Reds edge Oakland 2-1.
"He keeps proving why he's out in center field," said Reds pitcher Dan Straily, the beneficiary of Holt's defensive gem. "If we have to put Billy Hamilton on the disabled list, he's a great guy to put out there. He could be the starting center fielder on most teams."
"He's done everything we've asked," manager Bryan Price said. "He's been the prototypical bench player."
Holt, who is batting .282, and the rest of the Reds will be getting their first look at Oakland right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-6, 5.49 earned-run average) in the finale of the three-game series.
The right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.04 ERA and a .159 opponents' batting average over his first three starts before plummeting to 1-5 with a 7.03 ERA and a .358 opponents' batting average over his last eight starts.
Graveman allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in his last start, a 12-inning Athletics' loss at Houston on June 4.
Cincinnati left-hander John Lamb will be making his first career appearance against Oakland. Lamb (1-3, 4.74) has logged seven or more innings in each of his last two starts despite taking a line drive off his left hip while pitching at Colorado on June 1. He allowed four hits and one earned run with two walks and five strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings while getting a no-decision in his last start, Cincinnati's 7-6 win over St. Louis on Tuesday.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin was lamenting a suddenly punchless offense that had produced a total of two runs in the Athletics' last three games, a run that started with a 4-0 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"You continue to grind," Melvin said on Saturday after Oakland's second consecutive 2-1 loss. "I mean, our timing hasn't been great. Days we haven't got much out of our starters and we've had to go into the bullpen for four or five innings, our offense has been decent. Game like this, our offense needs to be better. It's two days in a row that we wasted really good pitching performances. I think we're pressing some at the plate."