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Giving role players enough starts part of Reds' plan

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PITTSBURGH -- On Wednesday, Roger Bernadina started in left field in place of Ryan Ludwick. On Thursday, Chris Heisey started in center field to spell Billy Hamilton.

Reds manager Bryan Price believes it's crucial for both role players to get at-bats.

"Really, these are our two key bench components," Price said on Thursday. "Heisey and Bernadina are our late-game bench bats -- one right-handed and one left-handed. We can't expect them to perform in these big moments late in the game if they don't get some regular at-bats as a starter.

"With our outfield, it's hard to find playing time for the bench players. But I'm just trying to do my best to keep them fresh."

Price has done his best to rest other players as well. Ramon Santiago started at shortstop for Zack Cozart and backup catcher Brayan Pena has gotten starts, even with Devin Mesoraco on a hitting tear.

Only Joey Votto, Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips have played in all 22 games for Cincinnati.

"I went into the season with a pretty fair understanding of what I wanted to do as far as resting some of our players," Price said. "I feel like it's important that these guys get adequate rest throughout the season. I don't think we'll have anybody who plays 162 games."

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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