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04/14/12 7:25 PM ET

Cairo exits after straining left hamstring

WASHINGTON -- Reds utility infielder Miguel Cairo exited Saturday's game vs. the Nationals in the second inning because of a strained left hamstring. Cairo's return status is considered day to day by the club.

Cairo started at third base in place of a resting Scott Rolen, and notched his first hit of the season with a one-out double to left field in the top of the second. Two batters later, Drew Stubbs drove him in with an RBI single to left field. Cairo scored with a slide into the plate, but reached for the hamstring on his way back to the dugout.

"When I slid into the plate, I felt a big cramp," Cairo said. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow. It feels tight. Hopefully it's nothing bad."

Wilson Valdez replaced Cairo to begin the bottom of the second inning.

Baker says Phillips' return should be Sunday

WASHINGTON -- Just itching to get to start a game again, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips thought Saturday would be the day. Then, he saw manager Dusty Baker's lineup for the game vs. the Nationals.

Willie Harris was leading off and playing second base.

"I really thought I was going to play today," Phillips said Saturday. "I was really looking forward to it. I woke up with a smile on my face, and then found out I wasn't in the lineup. It hurt. But it's what is best for me. [Baker] has been around the game a long time, and he knows what's best for me."

Phillips hasn't started since suffering a left hamstring cramp on Monday. He returned to action for the first time on Friday as a pinch-hitter, and struck out in the top of the 13th in a 2-1 Reds loss to Washington.

Saturday should be the last day that Phillips sits on the bench, however.

"That's what I told him in the beginning, that it would probably be [Sunday]," Baker said.

Phillips entered the day batting .250 in five games this season. The Reds dropped three of the four games he's been out of the starting lineup.

"Seeing the way we're playing and with me on the bench, I feel like I need to go in there," Phillips said. "I'm not 100 percent, but I can play. I can go out there and perform, regardless of the fact. No one on the team is 100 percent. I could go out there, play, and be comfortable. If I had to go from first to third, I feel like I can do that. If I had to score from second to home on a base hit, I can do that, too."

Ludwick discusses key Nats homer on Friday

WASHINGTON -- As he pursued Xavier Nady's home run on Friday, Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick missed it by thatmuch.

Nady's pinch-hit drive off reliever Bill Bray in the eighth inning brushed Ludwick's glove at the top of the wall as it went out. Ludwick made it clear that he did not knock the ball over the fence -- it was already on the other side.

"What happened when I went back was I didn't think I had to jump," Ludwick explained on Saturday. "My body hit the wall as I was reaching up. It jarred my arm just enough that I turned my glove a little bit. It caught the thumb on it and it just flipped off. [In hindsight], I would have jumped. I didn't think I had to jump."

The solo homer by Nady made it a 1-1 game and would force extra innings before a 2-1 Reds defeat in 13.

"I wouldn't say it was an easy one, but it wasn't an extremely hard play," Ludwick said. "It was one of those unfortunate plays, I guess."

Worth noting

On the heels of a 13-inning game Friday, Baker made a few lineup changes for Saturday. Ryan Hanigan was originally slated to catch Reds starter Homer Bailey, but was rested after he caught all 13 innings the night before. Devin Mesoraco started. Scott Rolen was originally going to be rested Sunday but got Saturday off instead after he played every inning Friday as well.

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.