Tyler Naquin, Tony Santillan, playoff schedule

MILWAUKEE – When Tyler Naquin reported to spring training as a non-roster invitee, he was confident he could make a big impact if he remained healthy.

Naquin finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2016, posting a .296 batting average with 18 doubles, 14 homers and 43 RBI in 116 games, but injuries were a constant over his next four seasons with Cleveland.

He didn’t play more than 89 games in a season from 2017-20, dealing with everything from a torn ligament in his knee, a hip strain, back tightness, a hamstring strain and a hairline fracture of his big toe.

“Just for me, man, it wasn’t the matter of ‘if,’ or ‘if he could,’ you got to stay between the lines,” Naquin said. “You have to stay between the lines, and the rest will take care of itself. Every player does (ups and downs) during the season, but you can’t even do this if you’re not in between the lines. My main goal from the first phone call I had with these guys was, ‘Hey man, just stay healthy and do your thing. Just stay healthy.’ That was my No. 1 goal.”

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Tyler Naquin (12) smiles after hitting a triple in the first inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

A healthy Naquin has played a role in the Cincinnati Reds’ success. He’s batting .269 with 22 doubles, 18 homers, 66 RBI and 50 runs scored in 113 games. He moved to the top of the lineup with Jesse Winker injured and he was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday.

He credited the Reds’ strength and training program, and not trying to overdo everything.

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