Bench players, callups get chance in Reds' lineup

Bench players, callups get chance in Reds' lineup

CHICAGO -- The Reds featured a vastly different lineup for Thursday's series finale vs. the Cubs. Nearly all of the regular players were rested, and bench players and September callups filled in. It marked the first career starts in the Majors for second baseman Henry Rodriguez and center fielder Denis Phipps.

Reds manager Dusty Baker made out the lineup ahead of time before he left the club with an irregular heartbeat on Wednesday.

"The lineup was done before he left for the hospital. That's Dusty," said acting manager Chris Speier. "He left that lineup there. So [I am] just following suit."

For Cincinnati, which held an 11-game division lead as it neared a clinch of the National League Central, it's one of the final chances to give key players a rest. With the Cubs already eliminated from the postseason, it also doesn't affect the competitive balance for another playoff race.

"We're in a really good position to where we could afford to do that," Speier said. "We had a tough one last night, a long one. We can rest our guys and make sure we get ready physically for the playoffs. By having this kind of lead, it gives us a chance to play some of the younger guys and the bench guys that will be there, it will give them some at-bats, which will be very important to keep them ready."