6/28/2014 2:52 A.M. ET
Phillips flashing power but needs ASG boost
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Phillips' leadoff homer in the seventh inning of Cincinnati's 3-1 victory over San Francisco on Thursday gave him his 700th RBI as a member of the Reds -- the 12th player in team history to reach that mark.
Phillips has been a National League All-Star for three of the past four seasons and was a first-time starter last year. But in voting results released on Monday, he had dropped from fourth to fifth in balloting and needs a boost from fans if he wants a trip to Minneapolis.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15, on FOX.
Votto's day off leads to revised battery
SAN FRANCISCO -- The need to give first baseman Joey Votto a day off on Friday meant that manager Bryan Price had to also adjust his battery vs. the Giants.
Backup catcher Brayan Pena, who usually works with ace Johnny Cueto, started at first base in place of Votto, and the hot-hitting Devin Mesoraco was behind the plate.
"We've been doing a lot of good things offensively lately," Price said. "We had earmarked today as a day off for Joey. I didn't feel like we could take Joey and Mes out of the lineup the same day."
Votto started 16 straight games since coming off the disabled list on June 10 after recovering from a strained left quadriceps. Price wanted to get him rest to prevent a potential recurrence of the injury.
Price, who doesn't have a true backup first baseman, doesn't plan on breaking up the Cueto-Pena combo much the rest of the season.
"I think we would still anticipate Brayan catching Johnny for the bulk of his starts moving forward," Price said.
Pena, Chapman thrilled by Iglesias signing
SAN FRANCISCO -- Friday's news that the Reds have signed Cuban free-agent pitcher Raisel Iglesias to a seven-year, $27 million Major League contract resonated especially hard with the club's two Cuban players -- catcher Brayan Pena and closer Aroldis Chapman.
"Chapman and I were texting back and forth when we heard the news," Pena said. "It's amazing -- not just for us but for our Cuban people to be able to have one of our own coming to the States and signing to become a professional baseball player, especially here with the Reds. Chappy and I were talking about how we're going to continue to push the Cuban players. We're very excited. I've heard great things about him."
Iglesias, 24, worked as a reliever in Cuba before defecting in November but will be turned into a starter for the Reds and be placed in the Minors once he gets a visa from Haiti, where he is currently residing.
Pena and Chapman plan to make him feel comfortable even before he reaches the Majors and expect to reach out soon.
"We're just going to get in contact with his agent and give him our phone numbers and start building that relationship," Pena said.
Manager Bryan Price is also excited about Iglesias joining the organization.
"I was able to see a little bit of footage on him before the Draft, that's all," Price said. "He sounds like a very impressive, very developed young pitcher who could move quickly."
Room for Iglesias on the 40-man roster was created when outfielder Roger Bernadina elected to become a free agent after refusing an outright assignment.
One streak ends, one continues for Bruce
SAN FRANCISCO -- Right fielder Jay Bruce saw one hitting streak end and another continue in the same game on Friday.
A 2-for-4, two-RBI game helped give the Reds a 6-2 win over the Giants and extended Bruce's hitting streak to a season-high eight games. The bad news? Both hits were singles, so his streak of games with an extra-base hit ended at seven.
"He's been terrific," manager Bryan Price said. "When the season's over, we'll look up and be really pleased with what Jay's accomplished and what type of season he's had. It couldn't come at a better time."
It's not just that he's started to hit well after a prolonged slump that lasted most of the season, it's how he's getting hits. Bruce, who hit seven doubles during his streak, is making good contact and hitting the ball hard to the gaps.
"I'm feeling good. I feel like myself," Bruce said. "That's something that I'm looking to build on -- I'm looking to be better than just myself. I'm taking steps toward that every single day. Every day it's not going to jump out, but it's something I try to build on. [You] take what they give you and continue to work and continue to expect the preparation to be there and live with the results."
The club-record streak of extra-base hits is nine, held by Pete Rose (1966) and Sam Crawford (1900). No Reds player has had an eight-game streak since Dave Parker, in 1986.
Hamilton reflects on missed scoring chance
SAN FRANCISCO -- In the sixth inning of the Reds' 3-1 win over the Giants on Thursday, Billy Hamilton tried something that had worked for him earlier this season -- tagging up from third base to score on a pop fly near second base.
But this time Giants second baseman Joe Panik threw out Hamilton at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
Hamilton made the decision to go on his own.
"It's always my call," Hamilton said on Friday. "I always think I have a chance. I saw him backpedaling, I saw him going back, stumbling and not under the ball, so I thought maybe ... I thought I had a chance with him going backwards."
Hamilton's only regret about the play was that he didn't touch home plate. He thinks he might have been safe.
"The umpire called me out right away, that's why I didn't even attempt to tag the plate, not thinking we have replay these days," he said. "When I was walking off, [catcher Buster Posey] tagged me. I didn't feel him touch me at all. [I've got] to make sure I touch the plate no matter what. With replay, you never know what's going to happen on that."
Manager Bryan Price is wary of trying to curb the speedy Hamilton's aggressive baserunning.
"I think it's a process. It's a knife that cuts both ways," Price said. "You don't want to necessarily ... lose his aggressiveness, yet you want him to learn when to [go] and when not to.
"He wasn't a dead out. They still had to make a decent play on him to get him. In the same respect, we had Brandon [Phillips] ready to hit behind him. It's a great play when you score."