05/08/12 8:12 PM ET
Ludwick eager to shake early slump
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Cozart settles in to leadoff role
MILWAUKEE -- After initially struggling from the leadoff spot, Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart carried a five-game hitting streak into Tuesday. Cozart was batting .333 (6-for-18) with two homers during the streak. That included a leadoff homer on Monday that started a five-run fourth inning in a 6-1 win over Milwaukee."I told him to just be himself and not try to be what the spot in the batting order dictates for him to be," manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday. "He's had some high quality, high number at-bats. He sometimes starts the game off with a seven- or eight-pitch at-bat because he battles and battles and fouls off some pitches. He's a grinder and a fighter type. He doesn't appear as such until he gets on the field."
Phillips shows signs of improvement
MILWAUKEE -- Reds manager Dusty Baker believed he was seeing signs of Brandon Phillips starting to heat up. The Reds second baseman was 2-for-4 in Monday's 6-1 win and drove the ball hard three times.Phillips, who was plagued with a sore left hamstring much of last month, ran the bases at full speed when he doubled to left field in the sixth inning. It appears he's nearly 100 percent again. "It's getting close because I see him itching to steal," Baker said on Tuesday. "I'm still saying no, but I see him itching. If larceny is in your veins on the bases, it's hard to get it out." Baker expects that Phillips will be turned loose on the bases soon. "When the hot weather gets here, he'll be wide open," Baker said. "He's done well at playing smart."
• Entering Tuesday, Reds relievers carried a 23 1/3-scoreless-innings streak over their last eight games. It was the group's longest streak since a stretch of eight scoreless games (17 1/3 innings) from July 26-Aug. 4, 2000. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the franchise record is nine games -- set in both 1971 and 1987.