WASHINGTON -- Getting the start Friday at second base in place of an injured Brandon Phillips, utility player Willie Harris came into the night 0-for-9 in his six games with the Reds.Harris doubled in the fifth inning as part of a 1-for-4 night, and he scored the Reds' only run in Friday's 2-1 loss in 13 innings.
Harris, who played for the Nationals from 2009-10 before spending last season with the Mets, was signed to a Minor League contract by Cincinnati in January and made the club out of camp as the sole lefty hitter off the bench. Reds manager Dusty Baker had a one-on-one chat with Harris in his office on Friday afternoon."We need to get Willie going. We need Willie," Baker said before Friday's contest. "He's always done well. He's probably trying too hard. Hopefully he'll relax and beat his old team." Baker also spoke to utility infielder Miguel Cairo about Harris. During his first year with the Reds in 2010, Cairo started out 2-for-20 (.100) and drew the ire of fans immediately. Cairo didn't really kick it into gear until May. "Now they love him," Baker said. "I told Cairo to talk to Willie about what happened to him. I've always said it takes older players a little longer to get their act together, especially when they're not playing. But when they get their act together, they keep it longer than younger players."
Mesoraco's frustration caught on film Thursday
WASHINGTON -- Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco took Thursday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Nationals particularly hard, and unfortunately for him, there were witnesses.The deciding moment of the game came when reliever Alfredo Simon's wild pitch into the dirt was blocked by Mesoraco, but the ball got far enough away to allow Ryan Zimmerman to score the winning run. Moments later, inside the visitor's dugout, Mesoraco threw his helmet -- nothing unusual for someone letting out a little frustration. But the moment was captured in a still photo by an Associated Press photographer, and Mesoraco heard about it from friends and family. "I had no clue at the time. It was kind of an embarrassing shot, I guess," Mesoraco said on Friday. "That was a tough way to lose a game, especially as a catcher. That's something you never want to happen. I think [the photo] made it a lot bigger of a deal than it was." Mesoraco chalked up the situation as being a rookie mistake and a lesson learned. "It's my fault. As a player, you're supposed to do that somewhere people can't see it," Mesoraco said. "I will learn from it to take it down in the tunnel if I have to get out that frustration, as opposed to where people can snap pictures."
Cozart doesn't start, but sees action Friday
WASHINGTON -- One day after his six-game hitting streak to start the season ended with an 0-for-5 vs. Washington, shortstop Zack Cozart was not in the starting lineup Friday for the first time in 2012.Wilson Valdez started at shortstop for Cincinnati in the second game of the series. Cozart entered Friday night batting .370 with one home run and two RBIs, and he did enter the 13-inning, 2-1 loss as a pinch-hitter in the 12th, and stayed on to play shortstop. Cozart popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt with a man on second and no outs in the 12th.
"He's been playing every day, running the bases and doing a great job," Reds manager Dusty Baker said before the game. "He'll be back in there [Saturday]."Valdez made his third straight start after playing the previous two games at second base for an injured Brandon Phillips. "He's pretty good at all of [the positions]," Baker said. "He's played second base and at center field. That's why we've got him."
Phillips pinch-hits Friday, could return Saturday
WASHINGTON -- Out of the Reds' lineup since he suffered a left hamstring cramp vs. the Marlins on Monday, second baseman Brandon Phillips pinch-hit in the 13th inning of Friday's 2-1 loss to the Nationals, striking out swinging to end the frame.Willie Harris started for Phillips at second base against the Nationals. Reds manager Dusty Baker held out the possibility that Phillips could start on Saturday. "We'll see. He was better [Thursday] than he was," Baker said prior to the game. "I might have to bat him down in the order some, so he doesn't have to run as much until that leg gets back to 100 percent." Phillips is normally the Reds' leadoff hitter.
On April 13, 1963, following a 0-for-11 start to his big league career, the Reds' Pete Rose hit a triple against Pittsburgh's Bob Friend for his first hit. On the exact same date 21 years later, while playing for the Expos, Rose notched career hit No. 4,000 against the Phillies' Jerry Koosman.