CINCINNATI -- Long before third baseman Scott Rolen hit his first home run of the season to start a four-run seventh inning in a Reds win over the Giants on Wednesday, it had been decided he would not start Thursday's afternoon game.
Todd Frazier started at third base for Cincinnati. Rolen, 37, is batting only .194 with five RBIs but has hits in each of his last five games. Upon entering in a double-switch for Frazier in the top of the seventh, he led off the bottom of the inning with a 429-foot home run to the second deck in left field.
"I've always said it takes an older player longer," Reds manager Dusty Baker said before the game. "I've seen it with the Yankees and different older teams. Those bones and muscle need heat. They don't need cold, wet and dampness. I'm not even playing and wherever I was hurt before is aching."
Rolen missed most of the second half of 2011 with a left shoulder injury that required surgery. He's been healthy so far in 2012.
"We certainly need him. He's a prideful guy," Baker said. "He's used to doing well and playing well. Look how well he played in Spring Training with the heat vs. as soon as we got back and it was cold. Hopefully we get some production in the meantime and keep his confidence and mind right -- as long as he's not hurting.
"There are a bunch of guys around [the league] struggling that can hit. Pitching has been good, but not that good to have everybody struggling. There will be some monster summers out of somebody because water seeks its own level and sooner or later you come pretty close to what you're used to doing -- as long as you stay healthy."