Phillips returns to Reds' lineup after illness

First baseman/outfielder Allen back in Major Leagues

Phillips returns to Reds' lineup after illness

CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips is back in the Reds' starting lineup. Brandon Allen is back in the Major Leagues.

Phillips was slotted in the No. 4 hole and played his regular second-base position as the Reds opened a three-game weekend series with Pittsburgh Friday night at Great American Ball Park. He had missed the last two games of the season-opening series against Philadelphia with a stomach illness, but he appeared ready to go Friday afternoon.

With bat in hand, Phillips just smiled and said, "All better," when asked how he was feeling. He then made his way to the batting cages underneath GABP.

Allen's RBI single

Allen, a 30-year-old first baseman/outfielder who signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to the Reds' Majors Spring Training camp, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Louisville Friday. He takes the 25-man roster spot of pitcher Robert Stephenson, who was optioned back to Louisville after throwing five innings and earning the win in his Major League debut Thursday against the Phillies. The Reds had an open spot on their 40-man roster, so no one had to be released to make room for Allen.

Allen has played in 116 career games but none since 2012, when he saw action in 10 games for Oakland (three) and Tampa Bay (seven). He made his MLB debut in 2009 with Arizona, where he appeared in 32 games.

Allen will be used as a left-handed bat off the bench.

"He impressed me in Spring Training, and I like his experience," said manager Bryan Price. "I like the fact that he's done stuff like this before. He's impressive, a little more experienced guy. If he's not starting for a couple of days, I don't think it will bang up his swing a great deal."

Allen's most extensive experience in the big leagues came in 2011, when he played in 11 games for Arizona and 41 for Oakland. He hit six of his 12 career home runs that season, as well as nine of his 19 doubles. Allen spent the last two seasons in the New York Mets' organization. He had a slash line of .273/.350/.478 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas last season.

"It's a breath of fresh air, and I'm grateful for every moment of it. As long as I can be here and be productive and help the team out," said Allen. "I've been around for a while. History is what it is, but we've got a good group of guys here that I can learn from."

Kevin Goheen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.