6/12/2014 5:37 P.M. ET
With eye on future, Price rests Hamilton
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was not in Thursday's starting lineup vs. the Dodgers. The decision was less about performance and more about thinking ahead. He was, however, used in late in the game as a pinch-hitter. He laid down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning of the Reds' 4-1 win and stayed in the game to play center field in the ninth.
"He didn't play every day when he was up in September. He did go to Puerto Rico [for winter ball]," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That kind of wore him down, I think. But he does play center field. He's 160 pounds. He plays hard. He runs hard. He does everything at 100 percent, which great.
"But I want to make sure he's still strong and healthy going into the latter months of the season."
Hamilton entered Thursday batting .252 with a .290 on-base percentage, two home runs, 14 RBIs and 24 stolen bases.
Roger Bernadina started in Hamilton's place in center field, while left fielder Skip Schumaker batted leadoff. Bernadina came in 4-for-9 lifetime vs. Dodgers starter Zack Greinke.
"It's been a challenge to get some of our guys regular at-bats," Price said. "I'm trying to at least get some matchups for some of our bench guys to get in there and keep them somewhat sharp."
Phillips injures finger fielding grounder
CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had to be lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Thursday's 4-1 win over the Dodgers because of an injured right index finger.
It was believed that Phillips was hurt in the sixth inning trying to field a Yasiel Puig grounder for a potential double play. Phillips bounced the flip to shortstop Zack Cozart and the Reds settled for one out.
"As the ball approached him, he had his right hand slightly in front of his glove," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I believe the ball hit his index finger on the way into the glove. It was fairly uncomfortable, especially swinging the bat. He was able to do things as far as throwing the ball with less discomfort."
Phillips was 0-for-3 in the game. Ryan Ludwick batted for him in the eighth and hit an RBI single to center field. Ramon Santiago pinch-ran for Ludwick and played second base in the top of the ninth.
Broxton nearly airtight out of bullpen
CINCINNATI -- Reds right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton has been airtight in the late innings. Broxton has not allowed a run in any of his last 12 appearances and in 20 of his 21 overall for a 0.44 ERA, entering play Thursday. It's been a great start, especially considering that Broxton had season-ending surgery to repair a torn flexor mass muscle in his right forearm in August and started this season on the disabled list to finish his rehab.
"I feel fine. I'm trying to make pitches and mix it up a little bit," Broxton said. "As a bullpen as a whole, we're just trying to get outs no matter where it's at -- the sixth, seventh or eighth to give [closer Aroldis Chapman] all the spotlight. For the most part, we've done that all year."
Broxton pitched a season-high 1 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 5-0 win over the Dodgers. He inherited a one-out, bases loaded jam in the seventh and got a double play before working a scoreless eighth, giving up just a walk.
"I think even under normal circumstances, if [Broxton had] been healthy, it's pretty special what he's doing," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The seventh inning really proved to be that make-or-break inning for us, because we got ourselves in a bit of trouble. … To get that double play was huge."
Setup men are rarely recognized with invites to the All-Star Game, but Broxton could be a worthy candidate. It has happened with former Reds lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes, who was selected in 2010. Broxton was a two-time All-Star as a closer with the Dodgers in 2009-10.
"I think the thing is now that the All-Star Game is more than just an entertainment vehicle, it's important," Price said. "Home-field advantage in the World Series is a pretty big deal. It seems to me that managers will be looking for putting together their best team when they have the ability to make those choices.
"If things continue and he can throw numbers like this up in the middle of July and maintain this type of pace, he would have to at least be in consideration, even if he doesn't have a bunch of saves."
Hannahan could resume throwing, hitting next week
CINCINNATI -- Reds reserve third baseman Jack Hannahan, who has been on the disabled list all season after he had shoulder surgery in October, could resume throwing and hitting on Monday.
Hannahan has had multiple setbacks since Spring Training and was shut down from hitting and throwing after the latest one last month.
"It feels pretty good," Hannahan said Thursday. "There's still minimal discomfort. It's a matter of strengthening and starting a throwing program again. Flexibility is good and [so is] my range of motion."