CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips' 35-year-old body has been nagged by injuries throughout this season. And just when the Reds second baseman gets over one injury, another one seems to be waiting on deck.Rarely does Phillips miss time, but the left knee bruise he suffered on Sunday at Milwaukee knocked him
CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips' 35-year-old body has been nagged by injuries throughout this season. And just when the Reds second baseman gets over one injury, another one seems to be waiting on deck.
Rarely does Phillips miss time, but the left knee bruise he suffered on Sunday at Milwaukee knocked him out for two games. He returned on Wednesday to be the driving force behind the Reds' 3-2 victory over the Marlins. Phillips had two doubles, including the game-winning two-run liner to the opposite field with two outs in the seventh inning, and he made two highlight-worthy defensive plays.
"It always feels good to come back and play the game. I love playing this game," Phillips said. "I've been playing hurt for quite a minute. Little, stupid injuries have come up back and forth. But I'm glad I took some time off. I finally let my body heal just a little bit. It still bothers me a little bit, but that's the last thing really on my mind. I have one career, and I'm going to keep playing the best way I know how. When I'm on the field, no excuses. I'm just glad I came through for the team today."
Phillips also missed a game on Aug. 10 because of swelling in his right quadriceps from being hit by a pitch the previous day in St. Louis. On July 8 at Miami, he suffered a fractured left hand from being hit by a José Fernández pitch, but Phillips missed no time.
Through it all, the veteran second baseman has produced at the plate. He's hit safely in 26 of his last 30 games while batting .374. When his hot stretch started on July 5, he was batting .248. Now he's at .284.
In the fourth inning, Phillips led off with a double to the center-field wall that was almost caught by Marcell Ozuna, and he scored on Eugenio Suárez's double. In the seventh, he hit Nick Wittgren's 3-1 pitch through the gap in right-center field to score Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto.
"That was just a big at-bat. He could have gotten pull-conscious and tried to hit the ball out of the ballpark and he didn't," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Defensively, the four-time Gold Glove Award winner demonstrated he's still capable of tremendous plays like two he foiled Miami with on Wednesday. In the third inning, Phillips made a leaping catch on a high line drive to take a hit away from Martín Prado.
In the fifth inning, Phillips ran to his right to stop speedy Dee Gordon's leadoff grounder up the middle and made a leaping throw across his body to first base.
"It was a bang-bang play," Phillips said. "Any time you have a guy like Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon running, it's kind of hard. I knew I was going to make the play, but I didn't think I was going to get him out."
The left knee is still not 100 percent after Phillips was injured when Orlando Arcia's helmet hit him sliding in for a steal.
"It's all right, man," he said. "I'm not really thinking about it, but I know when I sit down and chilling, I know I'm going to feel it."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.