Baker puts Stubbs back at leadoff

Baker puts Stubbs back at leadoff

CINCINNATI -- If he could always have his version of an ideal lineup, Reds manager Dusty Baker believed center fielder Drew Stubbs would be the best fit as a leadoff hitter. On Wednesday vs. the Giants, Baker put Stubbs back into the top spot -- a place where he hasn't been overly successful in the past.

With the leadoff hitter of the past few days, shortstop Zack Cozart, getting a night off and Stubbs' 4-for-8 track record vs. starter Barry Zito, Baker chose Stubbs. In the previous six games as the No. 2 hitter, Stubbs batted .385 (10-for-26) with a homer, two doubles and six RBIs. In his other 10 starts, he's either led off or batted seventh.

"It's the same approach. I'm not going to change anything," Stubbs said of leading off. "You could argue that hitting in front of Joey [Votto], you get more pitches to hit. Maybe that got me going but at the same time, it's a coincidence that I settled in and found my stroke a little bit. I'm staying on the ball better. I'm seeing the ball a little better. Moving in the lineup won't change anything for me."

While Baker would love to make use of Stubbs' speed at the top of the order regularly, his strikeout rate has prompted Baker to go mostly with Brandon Phillips since the middle of last season. As for where his preference lies, Stubbs found it hard to say.

"Over the course of my career, I've hit in so many places," Stubbs said. "I understand his point about being at the top of the order. I can create a lot of stuff that a lot of other guys can't. But I don't know if it's my favorite place to be. There are times I enjoy it and times I'd rather have the opportunity to drive in more runs. I've always believed that the team success trumps any individual success. If our best chance to win is to hit in that spot in the order, that's what I will do."