Baker says Phillips' return should be Sunday

Baker says Phillips' return should be Sunday

WASHINGTON -- Just itching to get to start a game again, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips thought Saturday would be the day. Then, he saw manager Dusty Baker's lineup for the game vs. the Nationals.

Willie Harris was leading off and playing second base.

"I really thought I was going to play today," Phillips said Saturday. "I was really looking forward to it. I woke up with a smile on my face, and then found out I wasn't in the lineup. It hurt. But it's what is best for me. [Baker] has been around the game a long time, and he knows what's best for me."

Phillips hasn't started since suffering a left hamstring cramp on Monday. He returned to action for the first time on Friday as a pinch-hitter, and struck out in the top of the 13th in a 2-1 Reds loss to Washington.

Saturday should be the last day that Phillips sits on the bench, however.

"That's what I told him in the beginning, that it would probably be [Sunday]," Baker said.

Phillips entered the day batting .250 in five games this season. The Reds dropped three of the four games he's been out of the starting lineup.

"Seeing the way we're playing and with me on the bench, I feel like I need to go in there," Phillips said. "I'm not 100 percent, but I can play. I can go out there and perform, regardless of the fact. No one on the team is 100 percent. I could go out there, play, and be comfortable. If I had to go from first to third, I feel like I can do that. If I had to score from second to home on a base hit, I can do that, too."