CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips never wants to take himself out of action, but he admitted on Monday that missing two games last week while on paternity leave might have been a blessing in disguise.
After sitting out four games in early June with a left forearm contusion, Phillips came back and wasn't quite himself, batting .169 (12-for-71) in his next 17 games. However, Phillips entered Monday with at least one hit in each of his three games since returning from paternity leave, going 4-for-12 with a walk and an RBI. And he singled in his first at-bat in Monday's series opener vs. the Giants.
"I'm not the type of person to make excuses, but I was really hurting," Phillips said. "Hopefully I can get back to the same person I was before. I'm starting to feel better, and it feels good."
Phillips said he's getting closer to 100 percent, which is good news for the Reds and manager Dusty Baker. Although Baker said Phillips is not the type of person to complain about being hurt, he wasn't surprised his All-Star second baseman was playing through some pain.
"Once you get hurt in baseball, you can count on it being awhile because you play every day," Baker said. "It's hard to heal when you're playing, but the good ones find a way to play. The great ones find a way to play, and their production doesn't go down."
Frazier focused on improving pitch selection
CINCINNATI -- Todd Frazier's ability to turn bad pitches into hits is something he prides himself on. Unfortunately for him, it's also the primary reason he went into Monday's game against the Giants batting .179 (12-for-67) in his last 20 games.
"For me, my pitch selection is pretty bad right now," Frazier said. "I've been working with the hitting coaches, understanding to look for a pitch but at the same time don't be too overly aggressive. I'm an aggressive swinger. I hit bad pitches well, so sometimes I get a little overzealous with that."
Frazier had been swinging the bat well before his slump, recording two hits in each of the first five games in June. Since then, though, he had 17 strikeouts before Monday. Most recently, Frazier went 3-for-24 on the Reds' eight-game road trip.
On Saturday against the Rangers, manager Dusty Baker took Frazier out of the lineup and replaced him with Jack Hannahan. Although Baker said that move was more about matchups than anything else, Frazier said it might have been good for him.
"You want to play every day, that's just the nature of playing ball," Frazier said. "But a day off kind of simmers you down a little bit. Maybe you'll get a pinch-hit and be able to help the team."
Frazier did get a pinch-hit opportunity, grounding out before being hit by a pitch and scoring a run in the Reds' 6-4 win in 11 innings. He went 1-for-4 on Sunday, but he said he thought he put together four good at-bats and hit the ball hard three times.
In Monday's rain-shortened, 8-1 win over the Giants, Frazier took another step in right direction when he delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the second. In the next inning, he connected on a three-run homer, matching his career high of four RBIs in one game.
"I've been working a lot on simplifying my swing and understanding that you don't need a lot more," Frazier said. "I don't wag my bat a lot, I cut down on that a little bit and focused on just getting the foot down and going. That was probably the biggest thing for me."
• Coming off a 2-6 road trip and sitting 5 1/2 games out of first entering Monday, Reds manager Dusty Baker said he doesn't want anybody pressing the panic button.
"I'm just glad to be home, and I hope everybody's positive about it because we're at the halfway point," Baker said. "It's not like it's Sept. 5. I just know this club. I have full faith in this club, and I know we'll turn it around."
• Before the national anthem on Monday, the Reds joined teams across baseball by holding a moment of silence to honor the 19 firefighters who died in Arizona on Sunday. The firefighters died battling a massive fire covering almost 9,00 acres of land that was sparked by a lightning strike about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.