Reds must replace Choo's production

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - New manager Bryan Price has the difficult task of replacing center fielder Shin-Soo Choo at the top of the Cincinnati Reds' lineup.

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One intriguing option is the speedy youngster Billy Hamilton, a base-stealing star in the minors. But Price isn't so sure the 23 year old is up to a regular role yet.

''We're all excited about the development of Bill Hamilton, and one of the big decisions that we have to make between now and opening day is if he's ready to handle that load,'' Price said Monday at the winter meetings. ''We're still going to give him a chance to come in and win a position.''

Hamilton created a sensation with his speed when he was called up in September, but struggled to get on base consistently in Triple-A before his first promotion to the majors.

Choo, a free agent looking for an nine-figure pay day, scored 107 runs and had a .423 on-base percentage last season for the Reds, who finished third in the NL Central and was eliminated by Pittsburgh in the wild-card game.

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