PHILADELPHIA -- After the Reds clinched the National League Central on Sept. 28, first baseman Joey Votto was one of several players that got some rest. Votto made only a pinch-hitting appearance the next day, didn't play at all on Oct. 1 and came out of two other games early.Votto, who is a leading candidate for the NL MVP award, believes the breaks helped him heading into the NL Division Series. "The last couple of days were nice," Votto said. "I was sick [with a sinus infection] over the last two or three weeks. We all know that when we're sick, you really don't consider that rest. You just try to recover and get back to normal. The last couple of days, Dusty [Baker] gave me one full day off and I played half a game. I really appreciated that."
Injured Edmonds can help in other ways
PHILADELPHIA -- You couldn't blame Jim Edmonds for being a little dejected on Wednesday.Edmonds has 230 at-bats in 64 postseason games, but will not be able to put that experience to action for the Reds during the National League Division Series. The 40-year-old outfielder is not on the active roster after all efforts to get his sore right Achilles tendon ready were unsuccessful. That included a cortisone shot last week and a lidocaine injection on Tuesday. "We tried everything we can but it just keeps getting worse," Edmonds said before Wednesday's game. "I've been poked and prodded and I feel like a science experiment. I did everything I could and it didn't react real well [Tuesday] to numbing it. Today, I can barely walk. It's very unfortunate. It's a great position to be in and I just want to be a part of it." The Achilles injury has bothered Edmonds the whole season, and he hasn't played since seriously aggravating it on Sept. 21 rounding the bases on a home run at Milwaukee. Had he been able to play in the NLDS, he would have been a pinch-hitter only. Taking Edmonds' place on the 25-man roster is rookie Juan Francisco, who has only 73 big league at-bats on his resume. Francisco, 23, is an aggressive swinger, which can serve him well as a late-inning pinch-hitter but he's not very selective, which could pose a problem. "You want him to swing at strikes, too," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's one area he needs to work on without us taking away his aggressiveness. You figure that will come with time." Edmonds -- who is eligible to be added to the NL Championship Series and the World Series roster, should the Reds advance that far -- will be in uniform in the Reds' dugout during the NLDS, and his experience will still be of use to a relatively youthful 25-man roster. "We want him around no matter what," Baker said. "He's been here before. He picks up things that some of the other guys don't pick up -- sequence of pitches, patterns, even guys tipping pitches, or if a guy is playing too deep." It remains to be seen if Edmonds can play if the Reds advance to the NL Championship Series. He is also contemplating retirement, but that's on hold for now. "I know this team is good enough to play, obviously, without me," Edmonds said. "I'd like to be able to help. They brought me here for a reason. I will still try to do everything I can on the bench and keeping guys calm and try to supply some energy on the bench. It's all I can do."
Bailey learning tricks of 'pen trade on fly
PHILADELPHIA -- Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has 56 big league starts for his young career, but as he enters the bullpen for the playoffs, his resume as a reliever is quite light. Bailey has made one relief appearance in his pro career, and it came in August while on an injury rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville."I didn't give up a run. That's all that's important. It was a clean inning," Bailey said. Now on the biggest stage he's ever been on, Bailey and lefty starter Travis Wood could be called to put out fires in the later innings while learning how to do the job. Wood also has no experience as a reliever. "Me and Woody talked about that and we'll just try to stay loose during the whole game," said Bailey, who was 4-3 with a 4.46 ERA in 19 starts this season. "When you're at this stage of the season, you're working so much on adrenaline. I don't think there's any problem. Anybody that's played this game is a competitor and wants the ball. When that time comes when I'm needed, I will do whatever I can to do a good job." Reds manager Dusty Baker said that Wood can warm up quicker than Bailey, which could be a concern if the Phillies start a big rally. "Sometimes things happen so quickly that you can't get guys loose quick enough," Baker said. "Everybody will say, 'Get him outta there,' but the guy might have thrown five pitches in the bullpen. You've seen sometimes where five, six pitches could be three or four runs. Things happen very quickly."
Improving Phillips returns to leadoff spot
PHILADELPHIA -- A profound slump had second baseman Brandon Phillips moved out of his usual leadoff spot the final week of the season. After he was hit on the back of his right hand by a pitch Aug. 25, Phillips batted .198 (21-for-106) over the next 28 games. Drew Stubbs was put in the leadoff spot for many of those final games.
Reds manager Dusty Baker liked how Phillips' swing responded after being moved down and had him back in the leadoff position for Game 1 of the National League Division Series vs. the Phillies.
"I figured he can handle it the best in the situation," Baker said prior to Wednesday's history-making contest, in which the Reds were no-hit by Roy Halladay in a 4-0 loss. "I was giving him a blow and now he's back. Things are always subject to change, but right now, I feel comfortable with him in there. He's swinging the bat well, and Stubbs has been such a very good RBI guy. Especially with two outs, you're going to need some RBIs down at the bottom of the order."
Unfortunately, Phillips -- along with the rest of his teammates -- couldn't get anything going against Halladay on Wednesday. Phillips was one of Halladay's eight strikeouts, going down swinging in the fourth. He also grounded out weakly for the 27th and final out of the game.
Besides Jim Edmonds, the Reds will have pitchers Aaron Harang and Mike Leake and catcher Corky Miller in uniform during the NLDS. None of the players are on the active roster but are permitted to be in the dugout or bullpen. ... Heading into Wednesday, manager Dusty Baker's head-to-head record vs. Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel was 11-24.