PITTSBURGH -- The .167 average aside, how could manager Dusty Baker tell that Reds left fielder Adam Dunn badly needed a day off? "Different guys show it in different ways," Baker said Sunday morning. "He gets real quiet. He just has that stare." With the Reds having a scheduled day off on Monday, getting a break on Sunday gives him two days of rest. Dunn has played at least 152 games in each of the last four seasons, so breathers like this are a rarity.
"I told Dunner today, 'Don't hit, don't do nothing'," Baker said. "Just clear your head. Start the season over again in Chicago." Since Dunn hit his only home run of the season on Wednesday at Milwaukee, he has gone 2-for-11. He went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Pirates. Dunn is 6-for-36 with five RBIs overall this season with 10 strikeouts. One small positive is he's drawn 13 walks and has his on-base percentage at .380. There were other changes Sunday, as Baker sought to have a speedier lineup with hopes of getting more runs across. The Reds had stranded 23 runners in the previous two losses to Pittsburgh and were a combined 5-for-27 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Freel started in center field. Norris Hopper had Dunn's spot in left field. Jeff Keppinger was moved from shortstop to first base, while Juan Castro started at shortstop. The Reds will open a three-game series at Chicago on Tuesday and Dunn will definitely be back in the starting lineup. Over his career at Wrigley Field, he is a .293 hitter with 20 home runs and 41 RBIs in 198 at-bats. "Usually he hits well in Chicago, so I just told him to get your mind right for Chicago," Baker said. "This is a mental day off for him. I could see him getting frustrated."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.