Bruce gets day off to clear head, relax

Bruce gets day off to clear head, relax

Bruce gets day off to clear head, relax
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker didn't just give slumping right fielder Jay Bruce a rest from Friday's lineup, he had him skip batting practice, too.

This is a mental break for Bruce, who entered the game vs. the Rockies in an 0-for-14 funk and 1-for-his-last-31.

"I want him to have fun today," Baker said. "Just go and play some first base [during BP]. Don't hit in the cage, don't do anything except clear your mind. Then he'll be back in there [Saturday]. Sometimes you need to clear your head. It's time."

Bruce had struck out 16 times during his 1-for-31 stretch. His batting average has dropped from .305 to .252, with a team-leading 10 home runs and 28 RBIs.

"I want him to lift. I want him to get a massage. I want him to use the Jacuzzi and eat, mess around at first and get loose just in case he's in the game," Baker said.

When his younger hitters are slumping, Baker likes to have them watch the game closely and pay closer attention to the at-bats from guys on both teams.

"It's hard to see yourself or watch anyone else when you're struggling," Baker said. "Most of the time, you've got your head down trying to figure something out. It's hard to watch with your head down."