Baker talks to Harris about slow start

Baker talks to Harris about slow start

WASHINGTON -- Getting the start Friday at second base in place of an injured Brandon Phillips, utility player Willie Harris came into the night 0-for-9 in his six games with the Reds.

Harris doubled in the fifth inning as part of a 1-for-4 night, and he scored the Reds' only run in Friday's 2-1 loss in 13 innings.

Harris, who played for the Nationals from 2009-10 before spending last season with the Mets, was signed to a Minor League contract by Cincinnati in January and made the club out of camp as the sole lefty hitter off the bench. Reds manager Dusty Baker had a one-on-one chat with Harris in his office on Friday afternoon.

"We need to get Willie going. We need Willie," Baker said before Friday's contest. "He's always done well. He's probably trying too hard. Hopefully he'll relax and beat his old team."

Baker also spoke to utility infielder Miguel Cairo about Harris. During his first year with the Reds in 2010, Cairo started out 2-for-20 (.100) and drew the ire of fans immediately. Cairo didn't really kick it into gear until May.

"Now they love him," Baker said. "I told Cairo to talk to Willie about what happened to him. I've always said it takes older players a little longer to get their act together, especially when they're not playing. But when they get their act together, they keep it longer than younger players."