07/07/12 10:10 PM ET
Latos to start first game after All-Star break
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Instead of having ace Johnny Cueto start on Friday, July 13, vs. the Cardinals as strongly considered, Cincinnati will open the second half with Mat Latos. Following Latos will be Mike Leake, Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey.
Reds manager Dusty Baker and pitching coaches Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins were looking for ways not to give their pitchers too many days off between starts.
"We debated having Cueto start the first game but everybody else would have had a couple of extra days off and that would have been on his regular turn," Baker said on Saturday.
Baker gives ready-to-go Rolen extra day off
SAN DIEGO -- His back spasms no longer bothering him, Reds third baseman Scott Rolen was ready to play on Saturday. But Reds manager Dusty Baker stuck with the hot hand by starting Todd Frazier instead vs. the Padres and lefty starter Clayton Richard.
Frazier, batting .274 overall entering the night, was batting .381 (8-for-21) with two home runs and seven RBIs in the first six games since Rolen's back locked up last Sunday.
"[Rolen] checked out OK. Frazier is playing pretty good right now," Baker said. "What I always like to do is when a guy says he's OK, I like to give him an extra day. Frazier has been good against left-handers and very productive."
Bruce working on driving balls to all fields
SAN DIEGO -- In five at-bats during Friday's 6-0 Reds win over the Padres, right fielder Jay Bruce did not hit one ball to right field. That's rare for Bruce, who hits a majority of balls to right and right-center.
Against San Diego, the left-handed Bruce grounded out to third base, flied out twice to left field, hit a leadoff double to left field and flied to center field. The Padres did employ a shift for the pull.
"I wouldn't consider myself an opposite-field hitter," Bruce said Saturday. "But if they're going to pitch me that way, I have to be able to use that side of the field. It's going to help continue to be a better hitter if I use that side of the field, not exclusively, but there are points when it needs to happen or you'll be unsuccessful."
Entering Saturday, Bruce was 6-for-27 (.222) with one homer on balls hit to the opposite field. In general, he's been working on becoming a more consistent hitter to all fields.
"It's been a process," said Bruce who came into Saturday's matchup batting .253 with 17 homers and 54 RBIs overall this season. "It hasn't happened as quickly as I'd like. But it's only been a half a season and there's a lot of season left. I'm continuing to get better."
Teammates happy to see Stubbs end skid
SAN DIEGO -- A ninth-inning double to right-center field on Friday by Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs kept him from having a historically long hitless streak.
Until that hit, Stubbs was in a 0-for-32 stretch. That was the longest skid by a Reds position player since Willy Taveras was 0-for-32 in 2009. Dennis Menke in 1973 was the last Reds hitter to reach 0-for-33 and Bobby Adams in 1954 was the last non-pitcher from Cincinnati to reach 0-for-34.
"All the guys are pulling for him big time," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You hate to see anybody struggle like that. He hit a bullet down to the third baseman earlier. We started seeing some positive signs and then he hit that ball to right-center. What a relief for him and for us too."
Stubbs, who was back in the second spot of the Reds lineup Saturday, came in batting .214 and 4-for-39 (.103) in 12 games since returning from a stint on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.
Bronson Arroyo's 6-0 complete-game shutout of the Padres on Friday made him the fifth and final Reds starter to go the distance this season. The last time the Reds had five starters pitch a complete game in a season was 2000, when Ron Villone, Pete Harnisch, Rob Bell, Elmer Dessens and Osvaldo Fernandez all did it.
The Reds top prospect, shortstop Billy Hamilton, will be promoted to Double-A Pensacola after Sunday's All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City. Hamilton batted .323 with 104 steals in 82 games at Class A Bakersfield.