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Tag:Scott Rolen
Posted on: July 1, 2010 3:28 am
 

Phillips finds his spot at top of Reds' lineup

Brandon Phillips CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is already thinking about spending time with his family when the All-Stars gather in Anaheim later this month.

It's not that he thinks he doesn't deserve to be an All-Star, he's thought he's deserved it the last couple of years and hasn't gotten the call, so he's not expecting it on Sunday, when the teams are announced.

"I feel like I should have been an All-Star years ago, so I'm not looking forward to it. I don't really care," Phillips said. "I'd like to have my four days off and be in Georgia and go do some things with my sister. That's it."

With Chase Utley on the disabled list, Phillips, 29, certainly deserves a spot on the squad, alongside Atlanta's Martin Prado. Still, with Dan Uggla also fighting for a spot, it wouldn't be a shock if Phillips were left off.

With a 30/30 season under his belt, Phillips is actually enjoying his best season in the big leagues. Phillips is hitting .313/.371/.481 with nine home runs, 25 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

He's also finally found his spot in the lineup. He'd been used as a cleanup hitter the last couple of years, a role he was miscast in, but still managed to rack up at least 75 RBI in each of the four seasons and 94 or more in two of the last three.

That's where he started this season, as well, but Dusty Baker moved him up in the order in May and let Scott Rolen bat cleanup.

"He's fit in in every spot we've put him in," Baker said. "He fit in at second, he did well in the cleanup spot, even though he was much-maligned, he still had 97 RBI. Now he's taken to this leadoff spot, he's taking pitches, he's a smart player. He's not hitting .313 because he can't play."

Still, Phillips said he's changed his approach dramatically since he's been moved up in the lineup, cutting down his swing and laying off pitches outside the strike zone.

"I'm not the same hitter I was when i hit fourth, the way I hit right now, I can't hit fourth doing it," Phillips said. "Hitting fourth, it's all about RBI, I proved to everybody I can hit fourth. I didn't hit for a high average, but I had the power numbers and I had the RBIs. I had 90-plus RBIs every year, but that's not me. I'm the type of guy who has gotten the team going. I'm trying to show everyone that I can do many things."

Too often, perhaps, he was trying to show others who he was instead of listening to himself.

"He hits the ball to the opposite field very well, I don't want to put words into his mouth, but I think with a man on first base he feels like he can hit that hole instead of swinging for a double or a home run," Rolen said. "For me, I'm not going to hit that hole, I'm not going to shoot a ball into the hole or bunt. I'm going to try to hit the ball in the middle of the field and hit the gaps. If I hit second, that's what I try to do. He's got a nice compact, right-field swing, but he can also hit the ball out of the ballpark. He sprays singles around and that's healthy."

Rolen has been something of a mentor to Phillips. It's not overt or like Rolen has put his arm around Phillips' shoulders and telling him the secrets of the game. That's not Rolen's style, but Phillips has been sure to keep an eye on the veteran and listen to everything he says.

"Scott Rolen told me, 'Brandon you don't know what type of player you are until you start winning.' I'm starting to see what he meant by that," Phillips said. "Scotty said he's seen so much potential in me and I have yet to see it. I'm starting to see it now. Coming from Scott Rolen, someone who has been at it a long time, to get a comment like that… I'm just going to run with it and do what I'm do."

What he's been able to do so far is spark the Reds offense at the top of the lineup. He has a career-high .371 on-base percentage. Last season he got on base at a .329 clip and has just a .318 career OBP.

"I like hitting leadoff, I jut have to change my role. Ever since they've moved me to first or second, my job is to get on base," Phillips said. "I'm not trying to hit for power or do what I was doing when I was hitting fourth. Right now, my main objective is to get on base for Joey Votto, Rolen and (Jonny) Gomes."

It's a sound strategy -- Phillips leads the National League with 60 runs, in part because he's on base for Votto, Rolen and Gomes, all three in the top 11 in RBI in the National League.

Phillips has just seven games in the leadoff spot, but the numbers aren't that much different than what he's been doing over the last month. As a leadoff guy, he's hitting .417/.447/.556 and in the last 30 games, .395/.424/.543, including a 2-for-5 performance against Roy Halladay in Wednesday's Reds victory.

The Reds have been searching for a leadoff man for the last couple of years, using the likes of Jerry Hairston Jr., Ryan Freel, Drew Stubbs, Cabrera, Willy Taveras and Corey Patterson. In the end, maybe the player they were searching for was right there under their nose, even if he wasn't ready for it. But, now, Phillips says, it's his time.

"I've got to be the Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins for this team. I'm just trying to get things started," Phillips said. "It's fun. Winning is really just turned me into a different player, it's made me stay on top of my game and made me stay focused."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 28, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 9:30 pm
 

No. 300 for resurgent Rolen

Scott Rolen When they traded for him last July, the Reds were hoping 35-year-old Scott Rolen would add some veteran punch to their lineup. Well, Rolen is landing plenty of punches in 2010.

The third baseman hit his 300th career home run Monday night, connecting against Kyle Hendrick of the Phillies (his first major-league team) at Great American Ball Park. It was another highlight in a season that has been full of them for Rolen this year.

The home run was Rolen's 17th of the season, more than he's had in any full season since 2006. He's on pace for 39, a career high. Rolen has 52 RBI in 70 games, on pace for 120.

The hitter-friendly dimensions of GABP explain some of Rolen's offensive uptick, but he's still a great story. Second baseman Brandon Phillips told the New York Times this month that Rolen is a major reason for way the Reds are putting the pieces together this season.
"Now, we have guys who keep on pushing us, saying the game’s not over till it’s over," Phillips said. "It’s a beautiful thing just to have Scott Rolen. Scott Rolen is the key thing [general manager] Walt Jocketty did, getting him over here. We’ve been competing all these years, and nothing happened. But now that we have guys on our team who know how to win and get the job done."
Rolen is the 128th member of the 300-homer club. He became the third player this season to hit his 300th, joining the Cubs' Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.





Posted on: June 13, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 4:23 pm
 

Reds' Phillips scratched



Reds second basemann Brandon Phillips was a late scratch because of leg soreness, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Tom Groeschen reports .

Phillips, in the midst of a 15-game hitting streak, has started every game this season and missed just five innings the entire season, including the last two innings of the Reds' 11-5 victory over the Royals on Saturday. Phillips suffered a cramp in his right hamstring against Pittsburgh on May 27 which caused him to miss the last three innings of that game.

Reds manager Dusty Baker said Phillips -- and third baseman Scott Rolen, who is getting a day off -- will be available to pinch-hit against Zack Greinke and the Royals on Sunday.

Like the rest of the Reds, Phillips has rebounded from a slow start, hitting .358 in his last 42 games and is now hitting .311/.371/.488 on the season with eight home runs and 23 RBI.

UPDATE: Phillips will undergo an MRI on Monday, he told Groeschen .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
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