SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Phillips probably didn't expect his 31st birthday on Thursday to feel the way it did. The Reds second baseman was scratched from the lineup against the Giants because of lingering effects from a collision to his head during Wednesday's game versus the Brewers.
Miguel Cairo started in Phillips' place and batted seventh. Third baseman Scott Rolen moved up to Phillips' fourth spot in the batting order.
Phillips left Wednesday's game before the sixth inning after feeling dizzy. In the third inning, he took a shot to the head as Aramis Ramirez was caught stealing at second base.
Just after arriving to AT&T Park, Phillips went to the batting cage to take some swings. After returning to the clubhouse, he and head trainer Paul Lessard went into manager Dusty Baker's office for a meeting.
When asked how the hitting in the cage went, Phillips chuckled at first.
"It went OK," Phillips replied.
Before it was decided whether or not Phillips could play, he took some ground balls on the field.
Baker felt that Phillips needed to be better than just OK to play.
"Definitely, especially here in this twilight and especially with these hard throwers they've got here," said Baker before his decision was made. "If you lose any kind of vision or blink out for a second, you can get hit upside the head with a 95 [mph pitch]. He has to feel better to play. We've got [Matt] Cain tomorrow, who throws about a thousand [mph]."
Asked whether he was concerned about whether his injury was a concussion, Phillips couldn't say.
"That word came up yesterday. It's the last thing I'm trying to think about," he said before the decision was made. "I'm trying to stay positive. I never felt like this before. The only thing I can really say is it's my birthday and I'm really happy.
"I looked at the play a little bit and can't believe I felt like that after that play. He hit me kind of square on."
Mesoraco struggling to find groove at plate
SAN FRANCISCO -- The first full season for Reds rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco has been a mixed result. While Mesoraco has improved behind the plate while working primarily with starters Mike Leake and Homer Bailey, he entered Thursday batting just .198 this season.
"Obviously, I'm not performing the way that I think that I can and the way I would like to help my team," said Mesoraco, who has four home runs and nine RBIs. "It's definitely a process. I'm learning a lot and just trying to improve myself and improve my swing. It's not fun to go out there every day and not be successful."
Mesoraco was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Wednesday's 8-4 loss to the Brewers. The former first-round pick struggled as a hitter in his initial pro seasons before taking off in 2010-11.
The 24-year-old was also playing every day in the Minors, something he doesn't do now with Ryan Hanigan being Cincinnati's primary catcher. Lack of at-bats is not an excuse that Mesoraco is using, however.
"I think it's just going to take time," Mesoraco said. "Playing the amount I'm playing doesn't have anything to do with how I'm performing."
Mesoraco, who has caught his last three attempted basestealers, has found grooves with Leake and Bailey after a slow start. Catching and defense remain his top priorities, which was what the club wanted when the season started.
"You have to stay focused on the task at hand, which is trying to get the pitchers through the game," Mesoraco said. "I think I'm going to have a whole lot more effect on the game behind the plate calling pitches and trying to get those guys through the game than the four at-bats I do get from batting in front of the pitcher. That's my main focus. I'm working hard it and learning every day."
Cueto unlikely to pitch in All-Star Game if chosen
SAN FRANCISCO -- Reds ace Johnny Cueto, who started on Thursday against the Giants, is an excellent bet to make the National League All-Star team when rosters are revealed on Sunday.
But it's highly unlikely that Cueto could pitch in the game at Kansas City, held July 10 (8 ET on FOX). His turn to pitch for the Reds will come up at San Diego on the final Sunday before the All-Star break.
"We'd like him to pitch that first game coming back after the All-Star Game against the Cardinals [on July 13]," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Most of the time, before you start the All-Star Game, you have to make it first. Johnny Cueto is a good pitcher."
Reds reliever Jose Arredondo caught a break Thursday because of a scoring change made from Wednesday's 8-4 loss to the Brewers. In the ninth inning, Cody Ransom bunted a ball fielded by Joey Votto, who made a wild throw to second base. It was originally ruled a sacrifice and fielder's choice by the official scorer.
That play has been changed to a fielder's choice and an error on Votto. Arredondo gave up three runs, three hits and three straight walks in that inning, including two with the bases loaded. Now all of those runs are in the book as unearned.