Phillips aims to rejoin Reds on Friday
Second baseman available to pinch-hit in Tuesday's game
CINCINNATI -- All signs are pointing to second baseman Brandon Phillips being back in the Reds' lineup on Friday.Phillips, who fractured his right thumb when it was hit by a ground ball on Saturday, hit off of a tee on Tuesday for the second day in a row. He also hit underhanded tosses in the cage and later played catch at increasing distances on the field. "He let it hang out pretty good, they told me," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Phillips' hitting. "He only felt it on a couple of swings." The session went well enough that the Reds decided to make Phillips available to pinch-hit in Tuesday night's game.
The plan is to have Phillips take full batting practice on the field Wednesday and if he comes out of that OK, he could be back when the Reds open a three-game series at Milwaukee on Friday. Cincinnati has an off-day on Thursday."It feels the same, but the pills are working," said Phillips, who still wore a wrap on his thumb but was without a splint. "I don't know what I'm taking, but they're working." Phillips is batting .275 with seven home runs and a team-leading 34 RBIs in 40 games. When Phillips does return, it doesn't appear Baker is worried about him favoring the injury. He does not have any plans to hold Phillips back. "You can't live in fear, you know?" Baker said. "The doctor said he can't do any more damage to it unless something insane happens, which is out of your control anyway." "I'm not going to rush myself unless I'm at least 90 percent," Phillips said. "Then I will try to go and play. If it's better after the off-day, especially against the Brewers, it would be a blessing to go out there and help the team against them. But if I'm not ready, I'm not going to play."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.