CINCINNATI -- With the departure of Jonny Gomes, fans should expect to see a heavy dose of Chris Heisey going forward. He started in left field against the Mets on Wednesday night, and manager Dusty Baker said before the game that Heisey will receive the majority of the playing time at that position.
Despite starting just 36 games, Heisey ranks fourth on the team with 12 home runs. Overall, he has been more effective as an option off the bench -- he is hitting .321 as a sub, .221 as a starter -- but Heisey has at times flashed brilliance.
He hit three homers against New York on June 22, and on July 15, against St. Louis, he smacked a leadoff homer -- one of two blasts in the game -- and robbed Albert Pujols of a long ball in a game Cincinnati ultimately won by one run.
"Any time you get to start the majority of games, you have to feel blessed, especially kind of taking the road I have," said Heisey, Cincinnati's 17th-round Draft pick in 2006. "But I'm not expecting to be out there every day. We've got some other guys. Freddy [Lewis] is going to play. I'm sure Yonder [Alonso] is going to play some. It's good to know they have the confidence in me to run me out there."
The Gomes trade made room for Alonso, who had been hitting .296 with 12 homers at Triple-A Louisville, and Baker knows the newest guy in the locker room will be the most popular option among fans. Alonso doubled off the bench on Tuesday night, so he's batting 1.000 thus far.
Still, Baker sees Heisey as a better defensive player and, therefore, a better everyday option.
"There was a point where everyone was hollering for Heisey in left," Baker said. "Now Yonder's here and everybody wants Yonder to play, and what are we going to do with Heisey?"
Lewis, Baker's other option in left, has started 34 games and is hitting .257 overall.