Phillips slides back to leadoff spot with Votto back

Phillips slides back to leadoff spot with Votto back

CINCINNATI -- First baseman Joey Votto was back in the Reds' lineup for Wednesday's series finale vs. the Phillies, as manager Dusty Baker indicated would be the case a day earlier. It marked Votto's first game since July 15, when he went down with torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee.

The return of Votto meant some musical chairs for the Reds' lineup. Most notably, second baseman Brandon Phillips was moved back to the leadoff spot after he had kept Votto's third spot in the order warm. Baker expected there to be a readjustment for Phillips, who batted .313 with five homers and 21 RBIs over 40 games in the three-hole.

"It's really no big deal," Baker said of the switch. "They talk about [our] MVPs -- it could be [Jay] Bruce, [Aroldis] Chapman, [Todd] Frazier -- but Brandon is one of the unsung MVPs. He's the only guy I have here that can hit all over the lineup and perform well. There aren't many guys around that can do that."

Phillips, who entered the day batting .296 with 15 homers and 71 RBIs, started the season leading off but was quickly moved to the cleanup spot by the middle of April when the Reds needed more run production. He took over the third spot when Votto got hurt.

"You hate to keep moving him all around," Baker said. "Our personnel is such where sometimes you don't have any choice. You want a set lineup. But we only have a couple of set lineup guys."

Phillips' production could boost a leadoff spot that has been woeful this season. Primarily occupied by Drew Stubbs or Zack Cozart, Reds leadoff hitters are batting .206 with a .248 on-base percentage this year.