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06/25/10 7:05 PM ET

Matthews no immediate leadoff solution

CINCINNATI -- When the Reds signed Gary Matthews Jr. to a Minor League contract Thursday, there was no expectation that he'd be in the big leagues quickly. Matthews was batting .190 for the Mets before he was released June 15.

Manager Dusty Baker was asked if Matthews could eventually be viewed as a leadoff hitter for the Reds.

"Matthews has got to get his act together first," Baker said on Friday. "How do you do that without your act being together? Matthews is going to Triple-A [Louisville] to get his act together. If his act was together, he'd be playing somewhere and probably leading off."

Phillips replaces Cabrera atop order

CINCINNATI -- Leadoff tinkering already worked once for Reds manager Dusty Baker. Will it work again?

For Friday's game vs. the Indians, Baker moved the struggling Orlando Cabrera down from the top spot to the No. 2 place, flip-flopping him with hot-hitting Brandon Phillips. Cabrera entered the night 8-for-60 (.133) in his past 15 games, including 0-for-his-past 18 that had dropped his average to .238.

On May 5, Baker moved Cabrera into the leadoff spot when Drew Stubbs wasn't hitting well there, and the move helped catapult the Reds into first place.

"At-bats are piling up for Cabrera," Baker said. "Maybe getting some non at-bats, some sac bunts, some hit-and-runs and different things will take some pressure off him. Just like Stubbs earlier in the year, when you're batting leadoff and you're not going good, you're 0-for-5 and everyone else has four [at-bats]."

Cabrera has been playing the past few weeks with a sore right ankle but hasn't used it as an excuse for his recent struggles.

Baker believes finding a successful leadoff hitter is one of the toughest things to do in the game.

"We didn't go to the World Series in San Francisco [in 2002] until we got Kenny Lofton. We were having trouble with the leadoff man," Baker said. "Then when I went to Chicago, until we got Kenny Lofton, I was having trouble with the leadoff man. I had David Bell and a bunch of guys leading off.

"You get one that can hit and runs fair or you get one that runs great and hits fair. When you can find that guy that can do it all -- bunt, run, hit -- that guy is a Jimmy Rollins-type. How many of those guys are around?"

Bailey will return to throwing on Monday

CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey will resume his throwing program on Monday. Bailey has been on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation since May 24. He was shut down from throwing June 11 after he felt recurring soreness.

"I feel like I can probably start throwing now. I feel pretty good," Bailey said Friday. "But we have this plan working. It seems to be going pretty well. We'll take our time and stick with it."

Bailey has intensified his shoulder strengthening exercises in the past week but has not pitched since a June 9 rehabilitation assignment start for Triple-A Louisville.

"It feels like it's been years since I've thrown, and it's only been a couple of weeks," Bailey said. "We'll start out kind of light and gradually build into it."

Lincoln remains on the shelf for now

CINCINNATI -- On the disabled list since June 1 with a strained muscle in his right side, Reds reliever Mike Lincoln has yet to begin a throwing program. That could soon change, however.

"I'm hoping to be throwing, starting this next week," Lincoln said Friday. "I feel pretty good. I think it's a situation where we didn't want to start it up and re-aggravate something. I know how I am, and I have a tough time stopping once I get going."

Worth noting

Cincinnati catcher Ryan Hanigan (broken left thumb) began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Thursday and went 0-for-2 as the designated hitter. ... The Reds held Irish Heritage Night at Great American Ball Park and wore green caps during their game vs. the Indians.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.