09/16/12 8:00 PM ET
Cozart takes BP for second straight day
By Christina De Nicola / Special to MLB.com
"He looked pretty good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He didn't look like he was babying or guarding anything. But he didn't really have to exert maximum effort. The ball wasn't running in on him, or [he wasn't] reaching for a breaking ball. Batting practice is pretty simple. We'll see."
Cozart's return remains uncertain, however.
"Whatever his body tells him," Baker said. "He's progressing. I can't give you a definitive answer. He's a big part of our offense and our defense."
Baker continued to tweak his lineup on Sunday. With Drew Stubbs struggling at the plate -- he remains hitless in his last four starts -- Chris Heisey earned the start in center field in the finale against the Marlins. He is 14-for-42 (.333) with three homers and eight RBIs in his past 12 appearances.
Dioner Navarro was Mat Latos' battery mate on Sunday, giving Ryan Hanigan a breather. Navarro singled as a pinch-hitter on Saturday. Didi Gregorius, who made his Major League debut Sept. 5, earned his third starting nod at short. Wilson Valdez had started seven of the last nine games with Cozart out.
"It seemed like we were going to get the lineup back the way I wanted it [when we got] Joey [Votto] back, and then I [lost Cozart]," Baker said. "Slide him to the second slot and Brandon [Phillips] leadoff. I really haven't been able to do what I've wanted to do the whole year. We're fortunate to be in our position."
Paul enjoying success as a pinch-hitter
MIAMI -- When Xavier Paul struggled with pinch-hitting last season, he turned to video of Miami's Greg Dobbs, with whom he shares mutual friends. Dobbs is the active Major League leader in various pinch-hitting categories, including hits (84), doubles (19), homers (10) and RBIs (68).
Paul went 4-for-43 (.093) with two doubles, an RBI and 21 strikeouts as a pinch-hitter last year. He played 128 combined games with the Pirates and Dodgers in 2011.
"I struggled at finding a way to keep myself not just physically but mentally prepared to come off the bench and try to have success," Paul said. "For the most part, I just try to stay loose between innings, pay attention to the ballgame, to the pitching changes and study the relievers, closers -- the guys I think I may have a chance of facing."
Over his last 10 appearances, the 27-year-old outfielder is hitting .400 with a double. As a pinch-hitter, he is 10-for-29 (.345), which includes a single in Friday night's game.
Paul started the season with the Nationals' Triple-A club before his release on July 3. He signed with the Reds on July 12 and earned a callup from Triple-A Louisville six days later.
"A lot of it is just confidence," Paul said. "You get a hit to fall here or there, and you get that confidence. It's the same way as starting. When you're hitting the ball hard, you're the most confident guy. When you're not getting the hits to fall, it's easy to lose confidence. So I try not to let myself ever get too high or too low."
Paul singled in a pinch-hitting appearance during the 10th inning of Sunday's 5-4 win over the Marlins.
Broxton feeling comfortable with Reds
MIAMI -- Jonathan Broxton got off to a rough start when he first arrived in Cincinnati from Kansas City in a deal at the July 31 Trade Deadline.
In five appearances after joining the club, Broxton was 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA.
Since then, the 28-year-old right-hander has pitched nine straight scoreless outings, dating back to Aug. 21 at Philadelphia.
"Just trying to stay healthy, that was a big thing," Broxton said. "[I've] been able to do that, and then [I'm] just trying to get quick outs -- just trying to cut down my pitch count so my arm doesn't flare up."
Broxton, whose career high of 36 saves came with the Dodgers in 2009, has 108 total saves in eight big league seasons. Before joining the Reds, he had recorded 23 saves in 27 opportunities for the Royals.
With Aroldis Chapman tied for second in the National League with 35 saves, Broxton took on the setup role. Chapman, who is resting a fatigued left shoulder, has been out since Monday. Broxton collected his first save in a Reds uniform on Tuesday.
Cincinnati leads the Majors in bullpen ERA (2.61) and the NL in opponents' batting average (.216).
"He's something special down there," Broxton said of Chapman. "We have a bunch of guys down there that can be closers. But he's our guy, so we're just trying to pick up some innings for him and give him a break."
Broxton picked up his second save for the Reds by closing out the 11th inning of their 5-4 win over the Marlins on Sunday.
The Reds have switched around their rotation. Mike Leake and Homer Bailey swapped places, with the latter now starting Tuesday's series opener at Wrigley Field.
Johnny Cueto will also start ahead of Bronson Arroyo, who was originally scheduled to start on Thursday. Arroyo will now open the weekend series against the Dodgers.
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.