Phillips stepping up play in Votto's absence

Phillips stepping up play in Votto's absence

Phillips stepping up play in Votto's absence
CINCINNATI -- With Joey Votto out of the lineup for the next month, the Reds are not only searching for new bats to fill Votto's void in the lineup, but also new leaders to step up in the clubhouse.

One potential candidate to fill both roles is second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Phillips, who's well-known for being vocal off the field, already has the credentials to be the outspoken leader in the clubhouse, but his recent play on the field may speak louder than any tweet could.

"Hopefully, we have some other guys that step up and have big days, or Brandon can continue to have big days until somebody steps up," said manager Dusty Baker. "I tell everybody, don't try to do any more than they're capable of doing, because then that's counterproductive. Just concentrate a little more in every department about being very fundamental, being better putting the ball in play, being better in what you're good at."

Phillips has moved into Votto's normal home, batting third in the lineup -- and with much success.

In the four games since Votto went down, Phillips has hit .333 with five hits and six RBIs. With much of the club searching for an answer in Votto's absence, Baker said the best thing Phillips can do is "just be himself."

"Brandon is Brandon. People are at their best when they can be themselves. You don't really appoint a leader. A leader just leads."