Baker will mix and match in left field

Baker will mix and match in left field

CINCINNATI -- It appears that Jonny Gomes' days as the Reds' regular left fielder are waning. On Sunday, manager Dusty Baker revealed plans to mix his use of Gomes, Fred Lewis and Chris Heisey at that position.

The sample size has been small, but Lewis has produced for the Reds at the plate. He got his third start in a week Sunday, going hitless in four at-bats. He also hits left-handed while Gomes and Heisey are right-handed. Baker did not use the term "platoon," however, in describing how he will divide playing time.

"That's part of my job is to match guys up in a situation where they're most likely to succeed, to match guys' strokes against guys I think they'll probably hit good," Baker said prior to the Reds' 9-7 win on Sunday. "Some guys are fastball hitters. Some guys are low-ball hitters, high-ball hitters. That's what I did with Jonny Gomes a couple of years ago, and I thought Jonny might be ready to play against everybody. Maybe that's not the case yet. I just have to pick and choose who I try to play guys against."

Baker installed Gomes as his everyday left fielder from the start of Spring Training, which made Gomes a regular for the first time in his career.

Gomes, who did not play on Sunday, finished the day hitting .186 despite being among the team leaders in home runs (six), RBIs (17) and walks (22). But his last homer was on April 17, his last RBI was on April 30 and his last walk was on May 5. The main reason he didn't play Sunday was his 0-for-13 lifetime numbers against Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter.

Lewis finished the weekend batting .313 (5-for-16) in eight games since he was activated from the disabled list on May 4. He missed the start of the season with a strained right oblique.

"Right now, Freddie is in a situation where we're trying to figure out when to use Freddie, against whom and give him the best chance and us the best chance," Baker said. "Same with Heisey. And the same with Jonny Gomes. There was a point when everybody wanted Jonny Gomes to play every day. There was a point when everybody wanted Laynce Nix to play every day. There was a point when everybody wanted Heisey to play every day. Those guys are more matchup guys, in my mind, at this point in their careers rather than every day guys."