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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."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for
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