Stubbs gets break from leadoff spot

Stubbs gets break from leadoff spot

Stubbs gets break from leadoff spot
CINCINNATI -- For all of the previous 68 games he started this season, center fielder Drew Stubbs was the Reds' leadoff hitter. That was not the case for the first game of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader vs. the Yankees.

Left fielder Fred Lewis led off, while Stubbs batted sixth. Manager Dusty Baker made the decision while sleeping after Tuesday's rainout.

"Just relieving a little pressure for him," Baker said of Stubbs. "Freddy has been swinging the bat well."

Stubbs was 2-for-16 with seven strikeouts and one home run in the previous four games of the homestand. Overall, he was batting .261 in 73 games, with 10 homers, 31 RBIs and a .334 on-base percentage. His 99 strikeouts lead the National League.

"When you're scuffling in the leadoff spot, those ABs add up rather quickly -- especially if you're not walking much," Baker said. "It's a temporary thing."

When he first checked the lineup card Wednesday morning, Lewis looked for his name further down in the order and didn't see it.

"I looked at the lineup and thought, 'I guess I'm not playing today,'" Lewis said. "I looked at the BP groups and I was in the second group [with starters]. I had to look at the lineup again, and it was a bit of a shock to me. Leading off?"

Lewis was 7-for-9 (.777) and had hits in each of his previous five games.

"I'm happy to be getting a feel of things again," he said. "I'm taking my BP into the game. I'm coming up with some good hits and good swings."

Baker started Chris Heisey in center field for Game 2 vs. the Yankees, and indicated he could bat Stubbs further down the order over the following six Interleague games in American League cities Baltimore and Tampa Bay. With the designated hitter in use, the Reds could have either Lewis or Heisey play left field and possibly bat first.