Notes: Phillips' glove raising eyebrows
Second baseman leads NL with .991 fielding percentage
ST.LOUIS -- With his impressive offensive numbers, Brandon Phillips has caught the attention of a lot of people around baseball. However, the second baseman is opening a lot of eyes within the Reds organization with his stellar defensive play this season as well.
While the offensive stats speak for themselves, 26 homers and 79 RBIs entering Friday's game, Phillips has also quietly put up some gaudy numbers on the defensive side.
Entering Friday night's game in St. Louis, Phillips leads all NL second baseman with a .991 fielding percentage, making just six errors in 658 total chances.
Those numbers have some thinking Phillips could be in line to win a Gold Glove at the end of the season. The Reds haven't had a player win a Gold Glove since 2000, when second baseman Pokey Reese took the award with a .991 fielding percentage as well.
When Phillips' manager Pete Mackanin was asked if he thought Phillips could take home a Gold Glove this season, he didn't hesitate.
"Without a doubt, in my mind," Mackanin said. "Like [Aaron Harang], seeing him on a daily basis has really made a big impression on me. I didn't realize he was that good defensively. When he goes after a ball, man, he's like a cat."
Mackanin said what amazes him the most about Phillips, is his ability to make all the routine plays consistently and also make the spectacular play when he needs to.
On Thursday, Phillips' game-ending play, when he gunned down the Pirates' Josh Phelps at the plate, drew rave reviews from his teammates. Ken Griffey Jr., who is a 19-year veteran in the league, said Phillips' play was as good as he's seen from a second baseman.
For Phillips, he didn't set the Gold Glove as a goal before the season, but he would love to take the award home.
"Winning one would make my career," Phillips said. "But, if you go out and say, 'My goal is to win a Gold Glove this season,' ... you can't control that, honestly. It's up to the coaches and everybody else. You can't make that decision. Also, it matters what type of year you're having. You can't win a Gold Glove if you're hitting .200."
The last category certainly isn't a problem for Phillips, who entered Friday hitting .290 in 131 games.
The 26-year-old second baseman also said that he's benefited from the offseason addition of Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez led American League shortstops last season with a .985 fielding percentage and has helped Phillips up the middle. Phillips also leads NL second baseman, having a hand in 98 double plays this season, primarily teaming up with Gonzalez up the middle.
Take two for Dumatrait: Phil Dumatrait's first stint in the big leagues didn't go as well as he would have liked. In four starts, Dumatrait posted a 14.18 ERA and was 0-2.
He was sent to Triple-A Louisville to work out some kinks, but only had the chance to make one start, before being recalled to start Saturday's game in St. Louis. In his only start for Louisville, Dumatrait picked up the lost, but had a quality start, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs.
This time around, Mackanin is expecting better things from the 26-year-old, who has managed to impress Mackanin despite the rough outings.
"Dumatrait certainly has the stuff to be a big league pitcher," Mackanin said. "But, there's certain time constraints involved. You only get so many chances. Hopefully, now that he has been sent down and is back up, he's learned from his first opportunity."
Mackanin thinks that Dumatrait will be able to be a little more calm in his second stint with the big league club.
"I remember my first two months, it's pretty nerve-wracking," Mackanin said. "Some guys handle all the hype and the media better than others and it takes some others some time to adjust."
Reinforcements on the way: With the active rosters expanding to 40 players on Saturday, the Reds will wait to activate Dumatrait until then, rather than doing it Friday night.
The Reds will also get some help in their bullpen on Saturday. The team is expecting to recall Marcus McBeth once the rosters expand to add more right-handed depth in the bullpen. As for who else will be called up once the rosters expand, Mackanin isn't sure, but is expecting some reinforcements.
"I presume that I am [getting more players]. I'll let [general manager Wayne Krivsky] decide what he wants to do," Mackanin said.
Minor League rundown: Jay Bruce went 3-for-4 with a homer, but Triple-A Louisville lost to Toledo, 6-2, on Thursday. ... James Avery pitched seven innings of one-run ball as Double-A Chattanooga beat West Tennessee, 2-1. ... Class A Sarasota lost both games of a doubleheader to Fort Myers. Chris Valaika was 4-for-7 on the day. ... Despite a solid night from Drew Stubbs, 3-for-5 with two RBIs, Class A Dayton lost in 10 innings to Lansing, 4-3.
Coming up: The Reds and Cardinals will continue their three-game series with an evening game on Saturday. The Reds will send recently recalled lefty Dumatrait to the mound while the Cards will counter with righty Adam Wainwright. First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.
Daniel Berk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.