Phillips enjoys hitting third in Votto's stead

Phillips enjoys hitting third in Votto's stead

Phillips enjoys hitting third in Votto's stead
DENVER -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has long made public his preference to bat third in the lineup. It's long been Joey Votto's spot, however.

Since Votto went down for left knee surgery on July 17, Phillips entered Sunday batting .364 (16-for-44) with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 12 games. He's batted third in the last 11 of those games.

"It brings back memories to 2007," Phillips said Sunday. "I haven't hit there in a while, especially consistent and consecutive days. I feel like more of a complete player when I hit third. I'm stealing bases. When you hit third, you can do what you've got to do and be the player you're capable of being. I want to thank [Reds manager] Dusty [Baker] for giving me the chance to do it.

"I told him, 'Hey, you're going to see a different dude.' Same guy, just a different beast. It feels good to hit third. If I'm there until Joey gets back, it is what it is, but right now, it's a blessing to show people what type of player I can be."

While pleased with the output, Baker reaffirmed that Phillips' time in the three-hole is temporary.

"When Joey comes back, Brandon will go back to the fourth-hole," Baker said. "You do what you've got to do."

It's even possible that Phillips could return to leading off if the Reds aren't successful in landing a hitter for the top of the order by the non-waiver Trade Deadline at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.

"It's not really my decision," said Phillips, who was batting .297 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs overall. "It depends on the team. Whatever decision Dusty makes, all I can do is what he tells me to do. I don't write out the lineup."