SAN DIEGO -- After missing a week because of back spasms, third baseman Scott Rolen was back in the Reds lineup for Sunday's first-half finale vs. the Padres.
That also meant that hot-hitting Todd Frazier, who was 4-for-7 over the previous two games and 10-for-25 (.400) in the seven games while Rolen was out, was sitting. Reds manager Dusty Baker felt that Rolen, who was healthy enough to return on Saturday, was better suited to face Padres starter Jason Marquis.
"I've got to play Scotty sometime and it's the best kind of guy to play here. This guy here [Marquis] can trick you," Baker said. [Saturday] and the day before, it was more of a matchup thing. I was going to play Scotty yesterday but Frazier has been so good against left-handers. This guy here throws right up Scotty's alley and not up Frazier's alley."
Baker bristled about the topic of whether it was tough to not play Frazier when he is the hot hand of late.
"I don't want to have to be answering this every day about Scotty and Frazier and who's playing and who's not playing," Baker said. "From now on, it's 'manager's decision,' like basketball. It's easier. I don't know what I am going to do but I will figure it out.
"It's a good problem to have but you get tired of talking about. It's going to be talked about over and over the rest of the year. Let them talk and let me work."
The rookie Frazier, who can also play left field, entered the day batting .279 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs this season. He stepped in for Rolen well when the 37-year-old missed 34 games with a left shoulder injury. Rolen, in the final year of his contract, came in batting .184 this season. Baker revealed that Frazier is in the club's future plans.
"And eventually, if Frazier keeps it [going], the job will be Frazier's. Eventually," Baker said. "It's not to say when, but Scotty isn't a spring chicken. Frazier has a good attitude about things. People fall in love real quick around here and then they fall out of love real quick at the same time. Since I've been here five years, there have been six, seven guys that everybody has fallen in love with and the next month or next year, you never hear their name. I'm just trying to win ballgames."