CINCINNATI -- Utility player Miguel Cairo started his third consecutive game at first base Friday with Joey Votto out again with a stiff neck. Cairo has made the most of his opportunity, going 5-for-9 with a homer and three runs scored in the past two games. "You want to contribute and do the little things that help the team win games," Cairo said. "You don't play every day, so when one of the big boys, the regulars, gets a day or something happens to them, you've got to be ready to go out there and help the team." Friday marked Cairo's fourth start of the season at first base, a position he hadn't previously played since 2008 with the Mariners. Of his 727 career games in 15 seasons, 131 have been at first base.
"That's why you try to put your bench together the way you do -- for times like these," manager Dusty Baker said. "You know things are going to happen through the course of the year. You hate it to happen to one of your better players. You try to cover yourself at as many positions as you can. Cairo, he covers us at three or four positions." Cairo raised his average to .262 entering Friday, but it was as low as .100 on May 4, when the 36-year-old played sparingly. He's been a role player for most of his 14 big league seasons, and it can be a challenging job. "It's something you have to be mentally prepared to do," Cairo said. "I always try to get myself prepared for that inning or that start."