The aura of Billy Hamilton

Hamilton's late-game appearances bring an excitement typically associated with closers. Michael Hickey/Getty Images

CINCINNATI -- At about the fifth inning, Billy Hamilton retreats from the Reds' dugout, and after he finishes stretching, he'll go to a track located outside the team's clubhouse.

Well, it's not really a track. It's some carpeting marked with white slashes, in a small alley in which there is equipment and box overflow. Hamilton uses the white marks for some agility drills, and then practices some sprints, the same way he'd break from first base.

There's a television mounted on the wall nearby, and Hamilton watches that to monitor the game situation, and the Reds have a book listing the delivery times of the opposing pitchers.

"That's not something we had in the minor leagues," Hamilton said the other day, with a smile.