DENVER -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has long made public his preference to bat third in the lineup. It's long been Joey Votto's spot, however.
Since Votto went down for left knee surgery on July 17, Phillips entered Sunday batting .364 (16-for-44) with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 12 games. He's batted third in the last 11 of those games.
"It brings back memories to 2007," Phillips said Sunday. "I haven't hit there in a while, especially consistent and consecutive days. I feel like more of a complete player when I hit third. I'm stealing bases. When you hit third, you can do what you've got to do and be the player you're capable of being. I want to thank [Reds manager] Dusty [Baker] for giving me the chance to do it.
"I told him, 'Hey, you're going to see a different dude.' Same guy, just a different beast. It feels good to hit third. If I'm there until Joey gets back, it is what it is, but right now, it's a blessing to show people what type of player I can be."
While pleased with the output, Baker reaffirmed that Phillips' time in the three-hole is temporary.
"When Joey comes back, Brandon will go back to the fourth-hole," Baker said. "You do what you've got to do."
It's even possible that Phillips could return to leading off if the Reds aren't successful in landing a hitter for the top of the order by the non-waiver Trade Deadline at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
"It's not really my decision," said Phillips, who was batting .297 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs overall. "It depends on the team. Whatever decision Dusty makes, all I can do is what he tells me to do. I don't write out the lineup."
Votto advancing; no return date set yet
DENVER -- Injured Reds first baseman Joey Votto is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday. Votto, who had arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee on July 17, had yet to resume baseball activity. That likely won't happen until Monday, after the Reds return home from their road trip.
Votto, who was expected to miss three to four weeks, is making good progress, however.
"It's going well," head trainer Paul Lessard said. "He's been doing all weight-bearing activity with different strength and agility drills and running."
The club hasn't put a target date on Votto's return.
"I haven't seen him so I don't want to speculate," Lessard said. "I'm just happy things are going well right now."
"You can't rush healing," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "How many dates have you been given that have been wrong? Who can predict healing?"
Marty Brennaman to shave head for win streak
DENVER -- Reds broadcasting icon Marty Brennaman's famous poofy white hair was in peril on Sunday. Recently during a team flight, Brennaman told bench coach Chris Speier he would shave his head if the Reds achieved a 10-game winning streak.
That happened when the Reds enjoyed a 7-2 win over the Rockies. Before the game on Sunday morning, several players and clubhouse staff remembered Brennaman's promise. The 2000 Ford Frick Award winner did not back down.
"I'm a man of my word," Brennaman declared.
"I was informed actually while we were throwing our bullpen," pitcher Homer Bailey said. "After I found out about it, the next person I felt ... who should know was [media relations assistant director] Jamie Ramsey. He then passed it along to you guys."
Brandon Phillips told Brennaman he should reconsider. Others were chuckling at the possibilities.
"Our broadcaster is going to be rooting against us today," Speier said.
"Oh no I ain't," Brennaman replied.Before the game, Bailey took first dibs on being the one who gets to do the shaving with his clippers, but Brennaman is considering getting a professional to do the job. Either way, the shaving won't happen until Saturday because Brennaman said he had to shoot a TV commercial on Monday.
"You know what? I don't have to cut his hair," Bailey said postgame. "He'd probably need wire cutters for it. I don't know if I'm qualified to use heavy machinery. I'm actually very honored he's going to [stick] with his word. It's very surprising. I'm sure he still said a bunch of bad stuff about us during the game. Now he can say it bald."
Manager Dusty Baker indicated that a change in the rotation order could happen based on the catching tandem. Ryan Hanigan currently catches three days in a row for Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos. Devin Mesoraco works two straight days with Mike Leake and Homer Bailey.
"That's not how we drew it up in the beginning," Baker said. "If I thought it was better, we'd have done it in the beginning. But with Cueto's finger [blister] and stuff that happened, you've got to change. Whenever it's convenient, we'll change it back."
The Reds came into Sunday winners of 16 of the previous 18 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the club's last 16-2 stretch came July 30-Aug. 18, 1975.