05/04/12 7:15 PM ET
Ondrusek gives 'pen lift in Madson's absence
By George Von Benko / Special to MLB.com
The bullpen has stepped up and leads the National League with a 2.54 ERA.
One of the key cogs in the bullpen has been right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who, in a team-high 13 appearances, has not allowed a run. His 12 innings are tied for third-most by any reliever in the Major Leagues who hasn't allowed a run (Aroldis Chapman with 13 1/3, Oakland's Ryan Cook with 12 1/3, Baltimore's Luis Ayala with 12 and Detroit's Duane Below 12). Including Spring Training, Ondrusek has not allowed a run in any of his last 19 appearances, didn't allow a hit in any of his last six outings (5.1 IP) and has stranded 10-of-11 inherited base runners.
"He's pitched great," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's been throwing the ball great, he's been outstanding. He's thrown as well as anybody in the league."
Ondrusek is pleased that he has been able to step up and help the team.
"So far so good," Ondrusek said. "There's still some things I need to work on, just like everybody does. As a group, when one person goes down, everybody feels that they need to step up in their roles and try to do what they can to fill that void, and so far we've been able to do that.
"I've been doing well, some of it is getting lucky and making good pitches and getting myself in good counts where I can go after guys and don't have to worry about being in hitter's counts. Make them swing at what I want to throw and I'm just trying to keep that rolling."
Phillips' hamstring almost fully healed
PITTSBURGH -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips' left hamstring is almost completely healed.
"It's better," Phillips said. "I'm starting to feel my legs a little bit more. Normally I squat down in my batting stance, and I haven't had the opportunity to do that lately, so I've been struggling offensively, but I've been feeling good and hopefully I can start coming through for the team and put everything together. I'm glad that my leg is starting to improve, so fantasy people beware."
The hamstring limited Phillips a great deal in April.
"I couldn't run and couldn't steal bases or really hit like I wanted to," Phillips said. "I was cool at the beginning, and it was starting to feel better, but when I started sliding, that's when I aggravated it even more, but two days off with the rainout and the day off helped it a lot."
Reds manager Dusty Baker cooled any speculation that once Phillips is 100 percent, he will be placed back in the leadoff spot in the batting order.
"We've got to find a cleanup hitter that's better than him right now," Baker explained. "We probably won't for a while, we're trying to muster as much offense as we can and do what we can with the personnel that we have."
• In the last 12 games, Reds pitchers are 8-4 with a 2.75 ERA (108 IP, 33 ER). The Reds' starters are 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA and their relievers are 3-1 with a 1.60 ERA. The staff's ERA of 3.53 for April was the lowest team mark for the months of March and April since 2002, when they went 16-9 and delivered a 3.43 ERA.
• Reds celebrating birthdays Friday are right-hander Sam LeCure (28) and infielder Miguel Cairo (38). Cairo made his first rehab appearance Thursday at Class A Dayton, he started as a designated hitter and went 0-for-4. Cairo has been on the disabled list since April 17 with a strained left hamstring.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.