Reds manager David Bell grants Will Benson his 2024 wish

Ask and ye shall receive.

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Will Benson (30) reacts
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Will Benson (30) reacts / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds had the day off on Friday. But David Bell's club is back at on Saturday and will be looking for similar results after boat-racing the Washington Nationals on Opening Day.

Saturday's lineup will look quite different, however, with a left-handed pitcher on the mound for Nats. Patrick Corbin will toe the rubber for Washington, and Bell will counter with the type of lineup that most Reds fans have come to expect; one that's loaded with right-handed bats. But not all of them.

Will Benson will actually be in Saturday's lineup despite the fact that Corbin is taking the ball for Nats manager Dave Martinez. Benson, a left-handed hitter, typically rides the pine when a southpaw in on the bump for the opposition. But Benson divulged this spring that he requested Bell to give him more opportunities against left-handers in 2024. It would appear that the Reds' skipper is granting Benson's wish.

Reds manager David Bell grants Will Benson his 2024 wish

Benson was in the Reds Opening Day lineup and was hitting right behind leadoff batter Jonathan India. He'll have to wait a little longer to get his at-bats against the Nationals on Saturday, as Bell has bumped Benson all the way down to the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

Some Reds fans will not like the shake up, but the fact of the matter is that Benson routinely struggled in his limited opportunities against left-handed pitching in 2023. Benson hit just .146/.205/.194 against lefties last season. But this spring, Benson's numbers were much improved. The outfielder hit .286/.444/.643 in 14 at-bats against left-handed pitching during Cactus League games.

This is a small step, but it's one that Benson is likely very happy about. Nick Martini, who blasted two home runs on Opening Day, is not part of the lineup. Neither is fellow left-handed hitting outfielder Jake Fraley. In fact, Benson is the only pure left-handed hitter on Bell's lineup card. Both Elly De La Cruz and Jeimer Candelario are switch hitters.

If Benson is able to find success against Corbin on Saturday, his chances to continue his development into an everyday player will only increase. Benson asked for these opportutnies, and Bell is giving him the chance to cash in.

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