LOS ANGELES -- The cuts and scrapes up and down Jay Bruce's right shin gave the impression that he had been sliding in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. In actuality, they came from colliding with Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas' shin guard on Tuesday night.
But that's not why the Reds right fielder was given the day off Wednesday by manager Dusty Baker. Bruce, the National League's player of the month for May, entered the day 2-for-20 on the road trip.
"I see him fouling off pitches now and slowing down a little bit from being so hot," Baker said. "I remember Ted Williams said that most guys go into a little tailspin because they're running the bases a lot."
Fred Lewis started in right field for Cincinnati in Wednesday's series finale vs. the Dodgers. Overall, Bruce came in batting .283 with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs.
As for his right leg, Bruce felt fine.
"It didn't feel great," Bruce said on Wednesday. "If you've ever slipped a pedal on your bike into your shin, that's what it was like. It hurt a lot in the beginning but it wears off."
In the fourth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 win, Scott Rolen hit a two-out RBI double that scored Drew Stubbs. Running from first base, Bruce was waved around and barely beat a perfect relay throw. Barajas was positioned up from the plate but successfully blocked the plate at the last minute.
"He did it like you're supposed to," Bruce said. "As soon as he knew there was going to be a play, he kind of came back and just blocked the plate. He did a good job. I was going to beat the throw but when he came over, he pushed me off the plate."
Bruce entered Wednesday's 7-4 win in the seventh inning and struck out in his only at-bat.