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Negron's playing time cut by Phillips' return

ST. LOUIS -- Utility man Kristopher Negron has been one of the more productive hitters among the often offensively struggling Reds. But with Brandon Phillips back from the disabled list, playing time for Negron will come less often.

"The dynamics of how we use the roster with Brandon here now is definitely going to change the look. Our fairly regular lineup is going to be more solidified," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Tuesday.

The Reds have shown 99 different lineups this season, not counting the pitcher, and that made Tuesday a rarity since they had the same lineup as Monday night's game. Negron, who was batting .284 since coming up from Triple-A Louisville July 10 after Phillips was injured, is 8-for-20 in his last six games.

Price all but ruled out using Negron in the left-field-platoon mix that already features Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and Chris Heisey.

"It's not off the table of consideration," Price said. "It's hard to realistically try to force-feed a fourth guy into that mix there to play left."

Shortstop seems less likely with Zack Cozart the starter and Ramon Santiago the primary backup. The best chances for Negron to play could come on days when Brayan Pena catches, which would have Price put third baseman Todd Frazier at first base. That could give third base to Negron.

"Kris gives us another quality bench bat," Price said. "I think he's going to do a nice job when he gets starts. He can pinch-run, steal a base, get a bunt down, hit and run. He can do a lot of good things for us."

Negron, who keeps a total of four gloves at the ready for all three outfield spots and three infield positions, works in both areas during batting practice.

"Between here and Triple-A, I've been ready to play any position at any time," Negron said. "I adapted to it a lot in Spring Training when I came off the bench a lot in the late innings to play defense and get an at-bat. It doesn't bother me."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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