09/19/12 12:09 AM ET
Frazier 'blessed' to be Reds' Clemente nominee
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Each of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball select a player who performed the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, who died at age 38 in a plane crash on Dec. 31 1972, while trying to deliver aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
"The honor is pretty nice," Frazier said. "I'm very blessed to even be nominated for it. I appreciate the Reds' organization for making me a nominee. I'm thankful."
Frazier participated in the first annual fantasy camp for kids clinic that included members of the Miracle League of Greater Cincinnati. He recorded a public-service announcement in support of the Down Syndrome Association's Buddy Walk and supports the efforts of the Reds Community Fund's programs like the Reds Rookie Success League, Urban Youth Academy and Reds baseball camps.
On top of that, Frazier also added life saver to his resume when he saved a stranger from choking at a Pittsburgh restaurant by performing the Heimlich maneuver.
"I don't know that I can recall an individual making the type of difference that Todd Frazier has made for the Reds' organization this past year, both on the field and in the community," said Charley Frank, executive director of the Reds Community Fund. "He's one of the most inclusive, approachable and positive people I've ever experienced in sports, and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Off the field, he's done about as much as an individual can do in a calendar year."
Frazier also likes to perform charitable work around his home in Toms River, N.J., working with House of Hope, an outreach program of the Presbyterian Church of Toms River.
"Any way I can give back, especially to my communities, feels real good for me," Frazier said. "I'm happy to do it."
Cautious Cozart expecting to return soon
CHICAGO -- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart missed his 12th straight game Tuesday because of a strained left oblique muscle, but he was optimistic he might not sit much longer.
Cozart took batting practice on Tuesday with the team, which he hadn't done since Saturday. He was told to rest Sunday and Monday.
"We're trying not to rush back," Cozart said. "It felt great the first day I took BP and we came back Sunday, less than 24 hours later, it was a little sore from the day before. We decided to take it slow."
Cozart was optimistic that he could be back during this weekend's series vs. the Dodgers at Great American Ball Park.
"I don't have a set date," he said. "If I keep making progress, I wouldn't be surprised if it's, hopefully, this weekend."
Cool temperatures at Wrigley Field could throw a wrench into the optimism, however.
"This is the time of year when weather can change day to day," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It affects Cozart as much as anybody. It's harder to keep that oblique area loose and warm."
Reds tweak rotation to set up for postseason
CHICAGO -- Over the weekend, Reds manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price recalibrated the order of the rotation. After Homer Bailey's Tuesday start, he will be followed by Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos.
The alteration splits up Cueto and Latos and also keeps Cueto throwing on regular four days' rest since his last start on Saturday at Miami. But it also puts him on track to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series, followed by Arroyo and Latos.
"We wanted to do this for a while but couldn't do it because of scheduling," Baker said. "When you have off-days like this and some guys getting tired, that's when you make the necessary changes.
"It breaks our catching up. [Ryan] Hanigan would go three days in a row, and then he wouldn't go two more. We just thought it was best. Bryan came up with some scenarios, and we discussed. We had two or three different scenarios. We figured that was the best one to go down the stretch and possibly into the playoffs."
Baker manages 3,000th game of his career
CHICAGO -- Dusty Baker managed the 3,000th game of his career when the Reds played the Cubs on Tuesday. His career record includes 1,556 games for the Giants and 648 for the Cubs, and Tuesday was game No. 796 for the Reds.
"I still enjoy what I am doing," Baker said. "I don't know if I've got 3,000 more, of course. I'll keep doing it until I stop enjoying it."
Baker's career record entering the night was 1,572-1,426 and he also had one tie with the Giants on Aug. 15, 2002, vs. the Braves. He is second in all-time wins among active managers, behind Jim Leyland.
"I'm a daily person. Everybody wants to achieve things," Baker said. "I'm just glad that out of the 3,000 games, I've won more than lost. I've still got quite a few games left in me."
Phillips, Barney put defensive rivalry on display
CHICAGO -- Brandon Phillips, the reigning National League Gold Glove winner at second base, was unaware of Darwin Barney's consecutive-game errorless streak, which reached a National League-record 133 games after the Reds' 3-1 win over the Cubs on Tuesday.
"Really? That's cool, that's nice," Phillips said of Barney's stretch, which long ago passed Ryne Sandberg's previous NL record of 123 games.
"I've been too busy winning," Phillips said. "I worry about myself and this team. If you don't play for the Reds, I don't worry about you."
But Phillips, who has won the top defensive award three of the last four years, did help Barney in Spring Training, talking to the Cubs infielder about the position and offering a few tips.
"I think they're very different second basemen," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We all know how flashy Phillips is. To go along with the flash, he backs it up and does a great job at second base. Barney is more traditional, fundamental, not as flashy. He still gets the job done as well -- as well as anybody has in a single season."
These next three games, the two will go head to head. Keep an eye on them.
"Barney wants to show him, and [Phillips] wants to show he's the reigning Gold Glove guy," Sveum said. "That's just part of competition and playing against the other guy at your position."
Phillips had a streak of 85 errorless games this season, and entered Tuesday's game with five errors in 134 games. Barney led the National League in fielding percentage and had made one error in 142 games.
"The majority of my errors have been on plays that normally second basemen don't get to," Phillips said. "I don't worry about that type of stuff. All I can do is go out and catch the ball and try to be the best second baseman I can be.
"Everybody knows I'm the best defensive second baseman. I say errors don't mean you're a good defensive second baseman, it just means you get to the balls you get to. If I didn't have any range, I wouldn't make any errors the whole year."
Wrigley Field's infield can be rough on players, and Phillips acknowledged it's a tough place to play.
"This is a good infield when it wants to be," Phillips said. "It just depends on whether the grounds crew waters it or not. It really depends on the day."
"When you're playing on a field that's not as wetted down as most of the other fields are, it's more difficult to get the hops and still make the plays," he said.
Sveum has made it clear Barney deserves the Gold Glove this year, saying the second baseman can change a game with a defensive play. He'll get an argument from Phillips. The Reds second baseman thinks he'll win another trophy.
"I feel like I should," Phillips said. "I feel the Gold Glove is mine to stay until somebody beats me to it."
Barney did not make a miscue on Tuesday and now has played 1,745 1/3 innings without an error. He's closing in on the Major League record of 141 consecutive errorless games at second base, set by Placido Polanco in 2007 with the Tigers.
"I don't think about it, I try not to," Barney said about winning a Gold Glove. "It's out of my hands at this point. I don't even know who votes for that. I just try to play clean and take care of business and get ready to play every day.
"He's the best," Barney said of Phillips. "He's one of those guys who is fun to watch out there. If I were to happen to take that from him somehow, it'd be pretty cool. Right now, he's the former Gold Glover, not me."
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (left shoulder fatigue) threw on flat ground Tuesday afternoon. Chapman is scheduled to have a bullpen session on Wednesday, his first time on a mound since he was shut down after his Sept. 10 appearance vs. the Pirates.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.