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Heisey struggling to find consistency at plate

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CINCINNATI -- Chris Heisey was handed a 14-karat golden opportunity for regular play in the Reds lineup when left fielder Ryan Ludwick injured his shoulder on Opening Day. Heisey hasn't really taken off and run with it, however.

After Monday's 1-for-4 performance, Heisey was batting .179 (12-for-67) with one home run and four RBIs while starting 13 of the club's 18 games. That included a 5-for-25 clip on the current homestand.

"I'm not surprised that he hasn't taken off but I'm a bit surprised that he hasn't done better," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Monday. "But since Heisey has been here, I've sort of spotted him against certain kinds of pitchers. Everybody was hollering that they wanted Heisey to play every day but sometimes, matchups are better than playing against everybody."

Heisey, who has been the fourth outfielder since his first callup in 2010, had previously been spotted time against fastball pitchers where his swing has been more successful.

"I'm obviously disappointed with my start but at the same time, I'm trying to use it as a building block to consistency and be more mentally strong," Heisey said. "Sometimes, we let our struggles get us down or give us negative thoughts. I'm trying to use it as a positive, learn what's not working and the next time I don't feel so good, maybe I can get out of it a little quicker."

One thing Heisey has going for him is time. Ludwick, who had right shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, isn't expected to return until sometime around the All-Star break. Lefty hitting outfielder Xavier Paul has played well during his chances and rookie Derrick Robinson brings a lot of speed to the table.

If Heisey continues to struggle, could a platoon be employed?

"I don't know. It all depends on him," Baker said. "He's so good defensively out there, especially on the corners. I need his defense in there, not to take anything away from X or Robinson. I just need to play him behind certain pitchers on our staff [who throw fly balls]."

Heisey was dropped from second to seventh in the batting order last week, and is certainly aware of his need to produce.

"At the same time, I try not to put any more pressure on myself," Heisey said. "I go out there and play every day and do the best that I can."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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