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Reds' Phillips to undergo surgery

Reds' Phillips to undergo surgery

MILWAUKEE -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips will need surgery to repair his broken right index finger, the club revealed late Wednesday afternoon.

Phillips, who will miss the rest of the season, will have a pin inserted so that his finger heals properly. Team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek and hand specialist Dr. Andrew Markewicz will perform the operation on Friday.

During the Reds' 4-3 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday, there was a Phillips playing second base, but not the one everyone is accustomed to seeing. It was Andy Phillips, who is unrelated, who made his first start there this season. The Reds have only had to start someone other than Brandon Phillips at second base five previous times this season.

Phillips was examined by Kremchek in Cincinnati, but the team had already confirmed earlier that he wouldn't play again in 2008.

"I felt sick to my stomach thinking about it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday morning.

The injury should open up some opportunities for younger players just called up. Expect Danny Richar to get some more playing time. Adam Rosales, who has played mostly third base, shortstop and first base, could also get a chance. Wilkin Castillo is a possibility, too. If the Reds go the veteran route, Jolbert Cabrera and Jerry Hairston Jr. are distinct possibilities.

"We'll just have to mix and match," Baker said.

Phillips has been one of the Reds' more durable players since he joined the team in 2006. He played 141 games this season and finished batting .261 with 21 home runs and a team-leading 77 RBIs. With a .990 fielding percentage and just seven errors in 706 total chances, Phillips should also be a strong candidate for a National League Gold Glove.

In the 11th inning of Cincinnati's 5-4 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday, Phillips' finger was struck by Seth McClung's fastball while he fouled off a bunt attempt. Two pitches later, Phillips provided the game-winning hit with a lined RBI single to right-center field.

"When I saw him, he was pointing to his finger," Baker said. "I couldn't understand what he was saying or doing when he got the hit and was on first base. He wasn't real demonstrative about being hit. You can usually really tell, because a guy is shaking it. Then he got a hit off a guy throwing 90-some mph. He laced it."

Phillips was distraught after the game, absorbing the first major injury of his career. Baker said the doctor who performed the initial exam on Phillips in Milwaukee thought the break was clean, but tests were to be performed in Cincinnati to make sure. Of course, it turned out it was more serious of an injury.

"I had a priest and three nuns at the game last night," Baker said. "They were waiting on me outside when Brandon walked out. They prayed over it right away. I said, 'Father, this is what happened to Brandon.' I told Brandon there's a good chance he got the red phone, the hotline upstairs. Mine might take a couple of weeks to get through."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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