Phillips still adjusting to hitting third in lineup

Phillips still adjusting to hitting third in lineup

CINCINNATI -- The Reds lineup as a whole has produced better offensively since the move of Joey Votto from third to second in the lineup on April 13. But the production from the current No. 3 hitter, second baseman Brandon Phillips, has been far from robust since the switch.

Phillips, who was batting .328/.350/.414 with one home run through 14 games on April 15, is batting .227/.235/.258 with no homers as the No. 3 hitter entering Wednesday. Overall, Phillips came in batting .255 with a .593 on-base-plus slugging percentage.

"He's a better hitter than he's been in the last week," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I don't have a concern. He's got a huge resume of performance. It will be something special when he warms up and does what he's capable of doing.

"It kind of goes back to the whole ebb and flow of the season for guys that get off to the good starts. Inevitably, things balance out by having a tough week or two. That's just baseball. The great part about veteran players is you know the track record. There is always something to come back to."

Phillips has been less selective at the plate than usual this season. He was tied with the Phillies' Marlon Byrd for the Major League lead by swinging at 44.1 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone. For his career, Phillips has swung at 34.2 percent of pitches out of the zone.

"We just want him to hit not necessarily to the spot in the order, but just to hit," Price said. "Get a good pitch to hit and hit it. Don't worry about whether you're hitting first, second or third, fourth or fifth."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.