6/4/2013 8:04 P.M. ET
Frazier puts premium on production over average
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- With no score and a runner on second in the fourth inning of Monday night's 3-0 win against the Rockies, Todd Frazier stepped to the plate and delivered the go-ahead RBI on a bloop single to left field. The swing, though effective, was ugly, as Frazier lunged toward the low-breaking pitch and made contact with one hand on the bat, his helmet nearly falling off his head.
Frazier didn't care.
"I wanted to drive the guy in," Frazier said. "I'll take it any way I can. You got to battle with two strikes. You look silly sometimes, but I'll take that over striking out."
Frazier, after a slow start to the season, has picked things up at the dish as of late. The 27-year-old third baseman rode a four-game hit streak into Tuesday's game, and knocked a long double in his first at-bat. Entering the game, he had batted .340 with seven RBIs in the 15 games since May 18. In the 15 games before that streak, Frazier hit just .157 while striking out 14 times.
Although he didn't mention any specific adjustments, Frazier said he remains in constant contact with hitting coach Brook Jacoby and assistant hitting coach Ronnie Ortegon, letting them know how he's feeling and seeking feedback that may help.
"It's just finding your way," Frazier said. "I would say pitch selection, but the ball I swung at yesterday was kind of not the pitch to be swinging at. You work with your hitting coaches every day. You try to get your mindset right. It's not going to last forever. How long it lasts, it's up to you."
Frazier said struggling at the plate can wear on a hitter, so it's important not to focus on average. That's what Frazier tried to do, pointing out that even when he wasn't delivering frequent hits, he was earning walks and moving guys over. Despite hitting .214 through May 17, Frazier walked 16 times and drove in 25 runs.
Manager Dusty Baker said he thought his third baseman was guessing at the plate too much, and Frazier didn't disagree on Tuesday, saying that's something hitters do when trying to bust out of a slump. Turning bad pitches into hits is something that Frazier prides himself on, and he doesn't want to make a habit of it, but he said he'll continue to do whatever it takes to be productive.
"My brother, Jeff, was the king at it," Frazier said. "I took after him because he said, 'Todd, who cares how you look? You got to get the job done no matter what. If you're swinging at a pitch that's not the one you want, you got to find a way to get on base and get a hit.'"
Phillips hitting, running, but not ready to play defense
CINCINNATI -- Injured second baseman Brandon Phillips moved closer to returning from his left forearm contusion on Tuesday, when he took batting practice and fielded ground balls before the Reds' game against the Rockies.
The results of his pregame workout were mixed.
"I felt good swinging," said Phillips, who nearly hit one ball into the upper deck at Great American Ball Park during batting practice. "The more I kept on swinging, the more it kept it loose. It felt good, so that's why I'm going to do some more treatment right now, just keep it hot, keep it moving. ...
"But other than that, catching a ground ball was not my friend. It wasn't fun."
Phillips, who was injured when he was hit by a pitch on Saturday in Pittsburgh, said he couldn't turn his left hand over far enough to comfortably field a ball in the dirt. He had no problems at the plate, though, and he said he planned on doing his best to keep the forearm loose during the game, so he could be available to pinch-run or pinch-hit if needed.
Manager Dusty Baker was encouraged by what he's seen from Phillips, but he doesn't want to rush him back -- even with the NL Central-leading Cardinals coming to town this weekend for a pivotal three-game series.
"We don't want him to miss a Cardinals game," Baker said. "But we want him right, too. He's working hard to try to get right."
• Injured left fielder Chris Heisey said before Tuesday's game that he hoped to have a definite rehab assignment plan by the end of the day. He previously went on a rehab assignment while trying to come back from a strained right hamstring in May. He only played one inning, though, before agitating the injury again.
• Reds prospect Billy Hamilton once again showed why the speedy outfielder is such an exciting player on Monday. In the eighth inning of Triple-A Louisville's game against Toledo, Hamilton hit his fifth career inside-the-park home run to give the Bats a 3-2 lead and the win.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.