Baker picks spots to rest starters

Baker picks spots to rest starters

CINCINNATI -- For manager Dusty Baker, it was time to give Brandon Phillips a rest.

Not that Baker was planning to sit Phillips for more than one day -- no reason to. He was just giving Phillips a break on Wednesday from the grind of a 162-game season, which can wear any player.

That includes the energetic Phillips.

"I think so," Baker said. "But he doesn't think so."

It didn't hurt to sit Phillips this day, anyway. He'd be batting against Cardinals right-hander Braden Looper, who's gotten the best of Phillips, two days removed from breaking out of an 0-for-13 funk.

He'd hit 1-for-11 [.091] against Looper.

But sitting any starting player isn't something a manager pulls the trigger on quickly. Baker said a number of things factor into whether he'll give a player a day's break or keep him plowing ahead.

The schedule plays a part, and so does the weather and the opponent. How a player is swinging the lumber -- a slow bat, for example -- is something else that might signal to a manager that he might want to sit the player and let him take a breather.

But the decision isn't an exact science.

"It's mostly a feeling, you know," Baker said.

Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.