Cozart, Bruce benefit from day off

Cozart, Bruce benefit from day off

Cozart, Bruce benefit from day off
CINCINNATI -- No Major League player ever enjoys sitting out a game.

But often times, despite their wishes, a manager knows best and an off-day is in store.

That was the case this week for Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart. The Reds' duo had been struggling since the All-Star break, and manager Dusty Baker gave both starters a day of rest to get their minds off baseball.

"To be honest with you, I felt good [Friday]," said Cozart, who was off on Thursday. "I had a good workout [Thursday] because I knew I was going to have the day off. You just kind of have a breather and not think about baseball for a day or so."

Baker's strategy must have worked.

Both slumping Reds notched multihit games on Friday, including a home run from each, breaking out of their cold spells.

Cozart entered the game with just one hit since the All-Star break, but tripled that count with a 3-for-4 game in Friday's win against the Brewers. His night included the Reds' first hit and run of the evening, when he hit a solo homer in the fourth inning.

"The day off was obviously good for me," Cozart said. "I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. The day off was more for the mental part of the game."

Bruce, who didn't play on Tuesday and snapped his 0-for-19 funk with a double and a home run on Friday, echoed Cozart's sentiments.

Bruce said midseason slumps are often predominantly mental, and a day away from baseball can help.

"To have kind of a mental rest day is always good," he said. "You might be doing something [wrong] just a little mechanical, then you get to the mental part of it and it just kind of snowballs. You have to have something to really stop the bleeding."

Cincinnati is hoping the struggles have finally stopped for their All-Star right fielder.

Despite his and Cozart's recent slips, the Reds have won nine of their last 11 and are a season-high 13 games over .500 entering Saturday.

"I'm glad we're winning," Bruce said. "Winning has made all the struggles that I have had a lot easier."