SAN DIEGO -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is No. 2 in the lineup, but he's coming in first in more than a few offensive categories -- a tribute to his hot start to the season.Phillips came into Tuesday tied for first in the National League in hits (16), multihit games and runs scored (12). He led outright in batting average vs. left-handed pitching. Overall, he was hitting .410 with one home run and five RBIs. He credits his success, in part, to manager Dusty Baker batting him second in the order. "I just feel comfortable with where they have me in the lineup," Phillip said on Tuesday. "The top of the lineup is the best thing for me. I'm not a No. 4 hitter. When I used to hit first and second last year, I found out what type of player I can be and what I needed to work on in the offseason. I went out strong and it's paying off. I'm having a good time and we're winning. I'm doing the things that Dusty and Walt [Jocketty, GM] want me to do. My job is to get on base for the big guys and try to make those things happen." Phillips' .455 on-base percentage is good indication that he's getting on base and creating opportunities for middle of the order hitters Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jonny Gomes, among others. In 2007, Phillips hit second a lot (or fourth) and had a 30-homer, 30-stolen-base season. "I had a great year and a lot of people forgot about the things that I can do hitting second," Phillips said. "Right now, I'm just reminding people when I hit there, a lot of things like this happened."
Bray adds latest conquest to impressive start
SAN DIEGO -- Reds reliever Bill Bray emerged the victor from a tense 11-pitch showdown with Padres pinch-hitter Jorge Cantu, with the heat turned up because it was tight one-run game on Monday.
In a 2-2 count, Bray threw three fastballs, one changeup and one slider to Cantu -- all were fouled off. On the 10th pitch, Bray missed with a changeup for ball three. The final pitch was an 84-mph slider, and Cantu swung and missed. Chris Denorfia was thrown out trying to steal second for an inning-ending double play. The Reds went on to win the game by a 3-2 score."It's fun. It's an adrenaline rush, especially since I was on the positive side of that," Bray said on Tuesday. "It doesn't always work out that way. To be in that situation, a one-run game, that's fun." The left-handed Bray has been effective in the late innings. He came into Tuesday with a 0.00 ERA in five games with all nine batters faced retired. "We don't have to talk about that," said Bray, feeling a little superstitious. "I feel good. I'm healthy. That's probably the biggest difference. I don't wake up every day hurting. When I play catch, it doesn't hurt. I can go back-to-back days or three days in a row and it's easier to bounce back. I was able to pitch this spring, which I hadn't done in a couple of years. That makes all the difference in the world."
Bailey throws at extended spring training
SAN DIEGO -- Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, out with right shoulder impingement since Spring Training, took another step toward returning from the disabled list on Tuesday.
Bailey threw three innings and allowed one run and four hits with no walks and five strikeouts in an extended spring training game at the Reds' complex in Goodyear, Ariz.Bailey threw 37 pitches, but was scheduled to reach 45-50. "He got the innings, but his numbers were lower than we had hoped," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Hopefully he went to the bullpen to get his numbers up." Bailey, and fellow starter Johnny Cueto, were scheduled to fly into San Diego and arrive during Tuesday's game. Cueto faced hitters in Goodyear on Monday. Both are likely to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville later this week.
Outfielder Dave Sappelt hasn't stopped hitting since Spring Training. Sappelt has opened his season with hits in each of his first five games for Louisville. He was batting .421 through those games. ... Jeremy Hermida was 3-for-3 with a home run for Louisville during a 4-2 win over Columbus in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Tuesday. Hermida, who just missed making the big league team out of camp, entered the second game batting .467 with two homers.