Reds plan to go with matchups in left field
CINCINNATI -- One day after Chris Heisey made his return to left field for the Reds and came through with two RBIs, including a solo home run, manager Dusty Baker held him out of the lineup announced for Thursday's game against right-handed Giants pitcher Matt Cain.
That will be a common theme for the time being, as Baker plans to use a platoon approach in left field.
"On a daily basis, I'm going to have to figure out who's the best guy offensively and defensively for who's pitching for us and who's pitching against us," Baker said.
With Wednesday's game going 11 innings, Baker said Heisey, who missed 52 games with a strained right hamstring, wasn't going to start Thursday's game anyway. Coming back from an injury, Baker said a player is most vulnerable to hurt himself again when he's fatigued.
But Baker was also playing the matchups. The right-handed Heisey came into Thursday with an 0-for-5 history against Cain. Xavier Paul hadn't done much better, going just 1-for-5, but Baker decided to go with the lefty.
Along with Paul and Donald Lutz, who was optioned when Heisey returned to the team on June 25, switch-hitter Derrick Robinson has been manning left field for the Reds. Although both Paul and Robinson have been scuffling as of late, Baker said Heisey won't be able to return and steal the full-time job in left too quickly.
"We'll break him in slowly." Baker said. "I told him, 'You just can't come in and take all the playing time away from the other guys.' It would have been different if he had been killing it when he left, but he actually looks better than when he left."