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03/10/12 6:28 PM ET

Healthy Rolen a good sign for Reds

PHOENIX -- Through his first four games, the results from Reds third baseman Scott Rolen have been optimistic. Rolen, who did not play against the A's on Saturday, is 5-for-9 (.556) with one double and two RBIs.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed, No. 1, that he stays healthy," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's looking better already this year than he was the whole year last year. He's swinging with more freedom. I don't see him wincing in pain or overall discomfort. You can see he's happy about things."

Rolen, who turns 37 on April 4, is coming off of one of his worst seasons and one marred by an injured left shoulder. He batted only .242 in 65 games and did not play after July 21 because of shoulder surgery.

Someone asked Baker on Saturday if Rolen's presence in the lineup was important.

"It's an understatement, really," Baker replied. "He's important defensively, and offensively somewhere in the middle of the lineup and leadership-wise on the field. When one of your leaders is not available, they don't feel as comfortable leading."

More talks forthcoming with Phillips' agents

PHOENIX -- The sound has been more crickets than rumblings this spring when it comes to progress on a contract extension for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Perhaps that will change soon. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Saturday that he expected to meet with Phillips' agents, the Levinson Brothers, when they get to town.

"They will be here this coming week," Jocketty said. "That's all I am going to say. There's nothing more to talk about until I talk to them."

Phillips, who is going to play out the $12 million option of his contract this season, has made his desire for a long-term deal public since early last year. The two sides haven't been close in previous talks, and there was little-to-no negotiations over the latter portion of the offseason.

Jocketty said the club was open to continuing talks into the season, something that Phillips has also said earlier this spring.

Phillips, who has been with the Reds since 2006, can be a free agent after the season.

Frazier's new approach at plate paying off

PHOENIX -- With two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs, it's been a decent start of spring for bench-role candidate Todd Frazier. The infielder/outfielder has tried to be more aggressive at the plate.

"So far, so good," Frazier said. "I came into camp with the understanding that I have to hit to play. I'm trying to get that first fastball, and I am trying to drive it. If not, I'll spit on it and not swing and live to see another day. I've had three or four at-bats where I've swung at the first pitch and put it into play and got a couple of hits out of it."

Frazier started at first base on Saturday vs. the A's and went 0-for-2 with an RBI. He reached on an error to third base in the second inning. In the fourth, he lost a hit when his hard grounder kicked off Bartolo Colon's shoe and went right to shortstop Cliff Pennington for a 1-6-3 putout as a run scored. During that at-bat, Frazier ran the count full.

"In spring, you don't want to try to get down to two strikes," Frazier said before the game. "But you want to see pitches and get the process of deep counts going in your mind and say, 'OK, it's time to battle.'"

Boone to be part of Opening Day festivities

PHOENIX -- The Reds announced on Saturday that former third baseman Aaron Boone would be the grand marshal for the 93rd edition of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.

The parade will be held at 1 p.m. ET on April 5. Boone is now an analyst for ESPN, and will also cover the Opening Day game when the Reds host the Marlins at 4:05 p.m. at Great American Ball Park.

From 1997-2003 with the Reds as part of a 12-year big league career, Boone batted .271 with 86 home runs and 362 RBIs for Cincinnati. The Reds said they will announce more Opening Day details in the coming weeks.

Worth noting

• The reports from pitching coach Bryan Price about Aroldis Chapman's two-inning start vs. the Giants on Friday were very positive. Chapman retired all six batters he faced with two strikeouts.

"Bryan said he had the best mechanics he's seen since he's been here," manager Dusty Baker said.

• Baker started shortstop Zack Cozart in the designated-hitter spot vs. Oakland on Saturday. It had nothing to do with the achy right arm Cozart had earlier this week.

"I have him DH'ing so he can get four at-bats without having to play nine innings," Baker said. "Cozart said he's feeling good. Jay Bruce will DH tomorrow and get four at-bats."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.