CINCINNATI -- In his first two games starting in center field in place of the injured Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey has taken ownership of two straight defensive plays of the game for the Reds.
On Wednesday against the Pirates, Heisey robbed Rod Barajas of extra bases with a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in left-center field. On Thursday in the sixth inning against Pittsburgh, Heisey ran far to his left and was fully stretched to make a great diving catch to take extra bases from Andrew McCutchen.
"I think we can get caught up in how we're feeling at the plate. I know I put a lot of stock in that, as well," Heisey said. "But you can help the team just as much on defense. And, fortunately, I've made a couple of good plays."
Heisey, normally a left fielder, can play all three outfield spots well. But he lacks the speed and range of the speedier Stubbs. Most outfielders do.
"Hey man, you've got to have more than one guy out there," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "These are plays that I love and also kind of expect sometimes. Heisey is my backup center fielder. You've got to have a backup center fielder, backup shortstop and backup catcher. Those three things you'd miss having a true backup to."
Heisey, who played his sixth game in center field on Friday against Detroit, felt there were only mild adjustments needed when shifting over from left field.
"The only thing I find hard is positioning yourself behind the pitcher," Heisey said. "Sometimes, you feel like you're out of position just so you can see the ball off of the bat. You have to be able to see the ball to get a good jump."