Versatile Phillips shifts from No. 2 to cleanup spot
CINCINNATI -- A man of many lineup spots, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is on the move again. Phillips, who was expected to be the No. 2 hitter all season, batted fourth Wednesday vs. the Angels. He replaced original cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick, who had right shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
Phillips promptly produced in the new spot, clubbing a three-run home run to ignite a four-run fourth inning.
Reds manager Dusty Baker called Phillips during Tuesday's off-day to let him know of the change.
"I told him I was promising I would leave him in one spot. I guess this is the spot I'm going to leave him in for a while," Baker said.
Phillips entered Wednesday with 467 career starts in the fourth spot, including 73 in 2012.
"Brandon is a guy that can hit all over the order. He's a guy that's done it," Baker said. "He's a guy that's driven in 100 runs. He's scored 100 runs. He's not your prototypical four hitter. I thought about [Todd] Frazier, but he's too young. I thought about [Chris] Heisey, and he's not really the kind of hitter to bat there. I had to break up some strikeouts. We've got guys striking out one in every fourth and fifth at-bat. You've got to break these guys up."
Heisey batted second against the Angels, between Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.
"Those guys are some dynamic hitters," Heisey said. "To be put between those guys is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to it."