5/17/2013 7:29 P.M. ET
Frazier hopes home-like scene will cure enigmatic skid
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Games away from Great American Ball Park this season have been anything but kind to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. At home, Frazier is batting .293 with all six of his home runs. On the road, he entered Friday batting .131.
Frazier is at a loss to explain the Grand Canyon-like chasm in his home/road splits.
"That's a great question," Frazier said before Friday's game. "Last year, I enjoyed hitting on the road. I like that feeling of being on the team no one roots for. I build off that. For some reason this year, I don't know what it is. It's weird. I can't really pinpoint it. I feel great at the plate. It's just not clicking. It boggles my mind. That's the most confusing part about this year for me."
In 2012, Frazier hit .286 with nine homers and 33 RBIs on the road compared with .258, 10 homers and 34 RBIs at home.
Batting .221 overall this season, Frazier took an 0-for-13 stretch in his last three games as the Reds swept the Marlins in Miami. Reds manager Dusty Baker has seen nothing mechanically wrong with Frazier's swing.
"He hit a couple of balls on the nose," Baker said. "That's why we put the hit and run on him [Thursday] to have him stay on the ball. Most of the time when you're not hitting well, you're pulling off the ball; you have a quick shoulder or a quick hip. You're not using the whole field."
For the next six games, Frazier has a chance to feel at home while on the road. The New Jersey native and resident will get to play in Philadelphia and New York. He expects to have 15 to 20 family members and friends at each game.
"It's good to be close to home; I think I need something like this," Frazier said. "It's a good time for me. I'm getting a little frustrated out there at times. It's been two weeks but seems like a whole year. I've never been through this. I don't like to call it a slump. If I get into a slump, I'm swinging at bad pitches. The last game [on Thursday], I had four good at-bats and hit three balls hard. There were two good plays. I can't do anything about it. I have to keep fighting and get a good pitch to hit. I will be fine.
"I don't necessarily need four hits a game. I can do one or two good things a game and play good defense. I've been helping out in that department at least."
Cueto ready to return Monday against Mets
PHILADELPHIA -- All systems are a go for Reds ace Johnny Cueto to return to the rotation from the disabled list Monday. Cueto, who has been out since April 15 with a strained right lat muscle, was named Wednesday as the starter for the series opener against the Mets.
"I'm ready for Monday," Cueto said Friday as he rejoined the team after his second rehab assignment start at Class A Dayton. "I'm happy. I'm happy for the team [playing well]."
On Tuesday, Cueto threw 58 pitches over five scoreless innings. He had no issues with his lat or the oblique muscle that became sore while he was on the DL.
"Everything was good," Cueto said. "I was working on my breaking ball. Everything was fine."
Cueto took the mound in the bullpen Friday for his regular side session, where he was expected to throw 35 pitches. The Reds will be watching Cueto closely Monday and will most likely be quick to limit his pitch count.
"We'll be a little careful," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "If he gets to a certain amount of pitches, you have to be careful with him. He's not in danger, but you're always fearful it could come back. Usually when things happen, they happen when you're fatigued."
Leake's job most likely secure when Cueto returns
PHILADELPHIA -- The Reds have listed Mike Leake as their probable starter for Tuesday's game against the Mets, which seems to end any remaining speculation about his status on the roster.
With Johnny Cueto set to come off the disabled list for Monday's series opener against New York, someone has to come off of the roster. Logic indicated it came down to Leake or Friday night's starter, rookie lefty Tony Cingrani.
Manager Dusty Baker said earlier this week that Leake was not pitching for his job. But Leake certainly helped his cause by posting a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts since a bad three-inning outing April 27 at Washington.
Leake, the team's fifth starter, will now be stationed between ace Cueto and No. 2 starter Mat Latos, who will pitch Wednesday's series finale versus Matt Harvey. There was no specific effort made to split up Cueto and Latos in the order.
"It's when Johnny was ready, and we had to re-tweak the rotation as it was because of Cingrani needing the extra day," Baker said Friday. "That kind of changed everything. A lot of times you have a reason, but this is for no particular reason. [Monday] is Johnny's day to pitch."
• When the Reds had a save situation in the 10th inning of Thursday's 5-3 win over the Marlins, Jonathan Broxton was not available to pitch. Instead, J.J. Hoover entered and notched the save. Baker revealed Friday that Broxton had a knot in his side behind the shoulder. It was not considered serious, and Broxton was expected to be available Friday.
"We didn't want to take a chance," Baker said. "It's just too early to be a hero right now, especially when you have a fresh arm. If it was September or down the stretch, we probably would have pitched him."