CINCINNATI -- It appears that Jonny Gomes' days as the Reds' regular left fielder are waning. On Sunday, manager Dusty Baker revealed plans to mix his use of Gomes, Fred Lewis and Chris Heisey at that position.The sample size has been small, but Lewis has produced for the Reds at the plate. He got his third start in a week Sunday, going hitless in four at-bats. He also hits left-handed while Gomes and Heisey are right-handed. Baker did not use the term "platoon," however, in describing how he will divide playing time. "That's part of my job is to match guys up in a situation where they're most likely to succeed, to match guys' strokes against guys I think they'll probably hit good," Baker said prior to the Reds' 9-7 win on Sunday. "Some guys are fastball hitters. Some guys are low-ball hitters, high-ball hitters. That's what I did with Jonny Gomes a couple of years ago, and I thought Jonny might be ready to play against everybody. Maybe that's not the case yet. I just have to pick and choose who I try to play guys against." Baker installed Gomes as his everyday left fielder from the start of Spring Training, which made Gomes a regular for the first time in his career. Gomes, who did not play on Sunday, finished the day hitting .186 despite being among the team leaders in home runs (six), RBIs (17) and walks (22). But his last homer was on April 17, his last RBI was on April 30 and his last walk was on May 5. The main reason he didn't play Sunday was his 0-for-13 lifetime numbers against Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter. Lewis finished the weekend batting .313 (5-for-16) in eight games since he was activated from the disabled list on May 4. He missed the start of the season with a strained right oblique. "Right now, Freddie is in a situation where we're trying to figure out when to use Freddie, against whom and give him the best chance and us the best chance," Baker said. "Same with Heisey. And the same with Jonny Gomes. There was a point when everybody wanted Jonny Gomes to play every day. There was a point when everybody wanted Laynce Nix to play every day. There was a point when everybody wanted Heisey to play every day. Those guys are more matchup guys, in my mind, at this point in their careers rather than every day guys."
Chapman continues to be plagued by wildness
CINCINNATI -- The "Cuban Missile" only seems to be missing the strike zone lately.Reds lefty reliever Aroldis Chapman has hit a wild patch of late, and manager Dusty Baker thought giving him the ball in the ninth inning on Sunday with a seven-run lead over the Cardinals was the perfect opportunity for his young pitcher to build confidence with a good inning. Instead, Chapman faced five batters and walked four of them to force home a run. It catalyzed a five-run Cardinals rally where 10 batters came to the plate, before the Reds hung on to win by a 9-7 score. "We just have to figure out what's wrong with Chapman," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You've got to work and that's what he's been doing. He's working before the game with Bryan [Price, the Reds' pitching coach], trying to find his release point. He was wild high before and now he's wild low. It seems like everything is cutting. We just have to go back and try to figure out what we're going to do at this point. We don't know." Of the 23 pitches Chapman threw on Sunday, only five were strikes. He did not retire a batter in his previous two outings and has been charged with 10 earned runs and 12 walks over his last four appearances. The 23-year-old has 20 walks and 15 strikeouts over 13 innings and has a 6.92 ERA over 16 games. "The word is getting around the league now because they were just up there taking," Baker said. "They've got advance scouts like we do. It's a matter of him focusing and remaining confident. Everybody's confidence is so fragile sometimes. Hopefully, he can have a good outing. That's what we were hoping for today, so he could get back on track again."
Hanigan sits, still nursing sore hand
CINCINNATI -- Ryan Hanigan was originally expected to be in Sunday's starting lineup to catch for Reds pitcher Travis Wood. Ramon Hernandez was behind the plate instead because Hanigan is still bothered by a sore right hand. Hernandez homered twice on Saturday and once during the Reds' 9-7 win on Sunday.In the eighth inning of Friday's game, Hanigan was hit on the hand by a fastball from Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas. On Sunday, there was still some swelling where his hand and wrist met. X-rays showed no major damage. "It's got some fluid in there. It's tender," Hanigan said. "Nothing to be too concerned about, I can play. I'm trying to get one more day. Hopefully, it will be significantly better tomorrow. If something were to happen, I could play."
Hanigan finished the weekend hitting .280 with two home runs.
Phillips' homer salute born from necessity
CINCINNATI -- For a guy who does many things on the field with a little extra flash, it's a comparably subtle gesture from Brandon Phillips. Every time the Reds' second baseman hits a home run, he offers a salute while rounding third base to coach Mark Berry instead of a high-five or fist bump.It actually started in 2008 when Phillips was playing through a broken right index finger. "I used to put my hand out, and he'd pound my hand," said Phillips, who went 1-for-4 in the Reds' 9-7 win on Sunday. "I was like 'Bear, I can't do this now. What would be nice?' He said, 'You'll come up with something.'" Phillips came up with the salute. He offered one to Berry again on Saturday after his second-inning homer during a 7-3 win over St. Louis. "Every time I hit a home run, it's a salute to all the troops serving the country," Phillips said. "[Berry] said, 'That's nice.' That's how it all started. I've been doing it for a while."
The earlier-than-usual 4:10 p.m. ET start to Saturday's game enabled Reds manager Dusty Baker to start third baseman Scott Rolen on Sunday. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple. Rolen doesn't often play day games if they come after night games, so Baker checked with Rolen before writing his name on the lineup card."Those few hours are very important. Plus, he wanted to play," Baker said. All seven of the Reds' series victories this season came after they won the first game, including against the Cardinals this weekend.
Reliever Jose Arredondo made his Reds debut on Sunday and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning against St. Louis. It was the first time Arredondo pitched in the Majors since 2009 with the Angels. He missed all of 2010 while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.