04/21/12 1:21 PM ET
Red-hot Stubbs moving in right direction
By Cash Kruth / MLB.com
The Reds' center fielder has been especially impressive in his last two games, knocking out three hits in each. Stubbs also homered Thursday and hit a two-run double Friday for his first two extra-base hits of the season.
"It's a process. I felt really good today," Stubbs said Friday. "I feel like I stayed on every pitch. I think leading up to that, I'd kind of been pulling off of some sliders, especially. I got a lot of them today and was able to drive one to right field and stay up the middle with some other ones.
"I'm working back to where I need to be. It's not a quick fix by any means, but we're moving in the right direction."
Manager Dusty Baker said the biggest change he's seen in Stubbs' approach has been him swinging at strikes and being aggressive early in the count.
"Everybody hollers about working the count and getting deep in the count, but everybody's not a deep-in-the-count guy," Baker said. "The deeper he gets in the count, the more prone he is to strike out."
After day off, Phillips returns to Reds' lineup
CHICAGO -- As expected, second baseman Brandon Phillips returned to the Reds' starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Phillips, who has had a lingering left hamstring injury, sat Friday because of cold weather and wet conditions.
Manager Dusty Baker said his original plan was to play Phillips on Friday and Saturday and sit him for Sunday's series finale -- which, including Monday's off-day -- would have given Phillips two consecutive days off to receive treatment.
Baker said he now plans on starting Phillips on Sunday, but Baker will monitor him and take him out of the game if the Reds happen to get a big lead.
Baker's said his biggest concern about Phillips sitting is the second baseman losing his stroke. Phillips went 2-for-5 with his first home run Thursday in St. Louis after beginning the season hitting .200 (5-for-25).
"You just find your stroke and you take too many days off, you'll lose it like that and then you'll never have it," Baker said. "His timing was off, so hopefully he'll be able to swing like he did [in St. Louis]."
Bruce gets breather; Heisey starts in right field
CHICAGO -- Right fielder Jay Bruce received his first day off this season Saturday at Wrigley Field, as manager Dusty Baker gave Chris Heisey his second straight start against the Cubs.
Baker deemed Saturday the "perfect day" to give Bruce a breather. Not only is Bruce just 2-for-15 in his career against Cubs starter Paul Maholm, but Baker also was able to give his two left fielders consecutive starts.
Heisey, who started in left and hit a two-run single Friday, replaced Bruce in right, while Ryan Ludwick started in left. Baker said he plans to start Ludwick in Sunday's series finale.
First baseman Joey Votto will receive the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame's 2011 Yogi Berra Athlete of the Year Award for excellence on and off the field Saturday night at a banquet at the Hall of Fame in Chicago. Past winners include White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, former Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, former catcher Mike Piazza, Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino and Joe Montana, professional golfer Phil Mickelson, women's basketball player Diana Taurasi and race car driver Michael Andretti.
Reds pitchers entered Saturday having thrown 22 consecutive innings without issuing a walk.
The Reds will honor the University of Kentucky's national championship men's basketball team at Great American Ball Park prior to Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game against the Giants.