4/3/2013 9:56 P.M. ET
Versatile Phillips shifts from No. 2 to cleanup spot
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- A man of many lineup spots, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is on the move again. Phillips, who was expected to be the No. 2 hitter all season, batted fourth Wednesday vs. the Angels. He replaced original cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick, who had right shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
Phillips promptly produced in the new spot, clubbing a three-run home run to ignite a four-run fourth inning.
Reds manager Dusty Baker called Phillips during Tuesday's off-day to let him know of the change.
"I told him I was promising I would leave him in one spot. I guess this is the spot I'm going to leave him in for a while," Baker said.
Phillips entered Wednesday with 467 career starts in the fourth spot, including 73 in 2012.
"Brandon is a guy that can hit all over the order. He's a guy that's done it," Baker said. "He's a guy that's driven in 100 runs. He's scored 100 runs. He's not your prototypical four hitter. I thought about [Todd] Frazier, but he's too young. I thought about [Chris] Heisey, and he's not really the kind of hitter to bat there. I had to break up some strikeouts. We've got guys striking out one in every fourth and fifth at-bat. You've got to break these guys up."
Heisey batted second against the Angels, between Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.
"Those guys are some dynamic hitters," Heisey said. "To be put between those guys is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to it."
Ludwick goes on DL; Reds promote Robinson
CINCINNATI -- The Reds officially placed left fielder Ryan Ludwick on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after he had morning surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Ludwick is not expected to return until sometime around the All-Star break.
To replace Ludwick, who dislocated his shoulder sliding headfirst into third base on Opening Day, the contract of outfielder Derrick Robinson was purchased from Triple-A Louisville.
"He had a real good spring for us," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Robinson. "He can help us in a lot of ways. He can pinch-run, pinch-hit, he's a switch-hitter, an outstanding outfielder and can give [Shin-Soo] Choo a breather in center some time. This guy is a true center fielder, a very good player and a very good outfielder. We need some speed."
Robinson, 25, batted .300 in 22 spring games after being signed in the offseason as a Minor League free agent. Although given little chance of making the Reds' 25-man roster out of Spring Training, he became the latest example of how opportunities can present themselves by doing all the right things in camp.
"Everything I did, I focused and made sure that I didn't give away an at-bat, or be lackadaisical in the outfield, or fall asleep on the basepaths. I gave it my all," said Robinson, who batted .258 in 116 games last season for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate in Omaha. "I gave it all I had. I gave it a good showing. Apparently, it worked out. I hate to see Ludwick go down like that. But I guess that's just how the game goes."
As luck would have it, Robinson had his parents in attendance at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday as the Reds played the Angels.
"My family came to Louisville," he said. "They followed me up this morning."
Robinson and fellow non-roster outfielder Denis Phipps were among the final cuts in camp. Robinson impressed Baker, and his name rose to the top among other considerations that included Phipps and a player on the 40-man roster in Donald Lutz.
"We thought about Big Lutz, but he still needs to play in Double-A," Baker said. "He's coming on, but is he ready right now? We don't think so.
"I know a lot of people want [Billy] Hamilton, but Hamilton has a lot to learn. We don't know how he's going to do at Triple-A first. Through the process of elimination, [Robinson is] the guy that looked like one of the best and the guy that we thought could help us."
Heisey gets opportunity as everyday player
CINCINNATI -- Once left fielder Ryan Ludwick went down with a right shoulder injury that could keep him out until the All-Star break, the Reds didn't hesitate to call on fourth outfielder Chris Heisey to replace him.
Manager Dusty Baker made it clear it was Heisey's time to show that he could be a regular player.
"I hope he doesn't put too much pressure on himself," Baker said on Wednesday. "This is an opportunity to get extended play. I'm making it as easier on him as I can by batting him [second] in front of Joey Votto. Now it's up to him. All I can do is give guys opportunity.
"It's how he handles playing every day -- that's where the strong stand out. I'm pulling for Heisey."
Heisey has been a role player since his first big league callup in 2010, which came as a result of Chris Dickerson going on the disabled list. Last season, he made 36 of his 80 starts in left field, while batting .265 in 120 games overall, with seven home runs and 31 RBIs.
"I'm here to do my job, and today's being in left field, starting," Heisey said. "That's what I'm going to do. I'm sad for Ryan. He's a good friend of mine and a teammate. Hopefully he gets back sooner than they expect."
Reds to keep Choo as permanent center fielder
CINCINNATI -- As the Reds adjust to an outfield without injured left fielder Ryan Ludwick, there was no thought from manager Dusty Baker in moving Shin-Soo Choo over from center field.
Choo, who was acquired in an offseason trade from the Indians, was primarily a corner outfielder throughout his career. Ludwick's replacement in left field, Chris Heisey, has extensive experience in center field.
"He's been there all spring," Baker said of Choo in center field. "We got him over here to play center field. He's equal to Heisey in center field. You don't want to tear up everything."
Prospect Garrett to leave hoops, focus on baseball
CINCINNATI -- Reds left-handed pitching prospect Amir Garrett, who is also a college basketball player for St. John's University, revealed on Twitter he is leaving school.
Garrett disclosed that, at least in the interim, he will focus on baseball.
Garrett, 20, was a 22nd-round pick of the Reds in 2011 and has fastball velocity in the mid 90s. The organization's No. 20 prospect, ranked by MLB.com, Garrett spent last season with the AZL Reds and Billings at the Minor League Rookie level.
After a long thought out process of speaking with my family, I will be leaving St. John's basketball program!- amir garrett (@Amir_Garrett) April 3, 2013
As of now I'm playing baseball, but I plan on being at another programin the fall.- amir garrett (@Amir_Garrett) April 3, 2013