CINCINNATI -- Playing every day lately has been quite becoming for infielder Rich Aurilia's offensive production for the Reds.
Aurilia entered Friday batting .339 (20-for-59) with three homers and seven RBIs since the All-Star break, while playing 17 of the last 19 games. His on-base-plus slugging percentage was a robust .985. In the first half, he batted .267 with an .807 OPS.
Most of the 34-year-old's plate appearances have come while playing regularly at third base and batting fourth. Because Edwin Encarnacion was a fixture at the spot, Aurilia saw a reduced amount of playing time in the first half. But his solid glove created increased playing time in place of the more error-prone Encarnacion.
"I'm a guy that's used to playing every day," Aurilia said. "Ask any hitter -- it's hard to get on a roll when you're not playing consistently. Earlier in the year, I was just playing against lefties. Then I started playing against some really tough righties. Then I started playing against everybody. When you play consistently, you have a chance to find your comfort zone. I think that has a lot to do with it."
Playing mostly one position might have benefited Aurilia as well. He had hits in 20 of 23 games since July 1, but was 0-for-3 as the Reds notched only two hits in Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Dodgers.
"Does it help knowing you're going to be in there at one spot? Yeah," Aurilia said. "Because anytime you play a lot and can come in and not have to look at the lineup and know where you'll be, mentally that takes a little off your mind. We don't have the luxury around here to do that. We have a lot of different lineups and a lot of different guys playing."
Incidentally, Friday marked Reds manager Jerry Narron's 94th different lineup used in 109 games this season.
Still, Aurilia had gotten so used to being at third base lately that he was surprised when he found out Thursday he was the starting second baseman as Brandon Phillips was rested.
It was only Aurilia's second start at second base this season, his first since April 15.
"It's weird," Aurilia said. "Because the other day, I was thinking, 'I don't know if anybody remembers that I played shortstop for 10 years and 70 games at second base last year, because I hadn't played there in a while.' I showed up yesterday and I was at second."
On Friday, with left-hander Chuck James pitching for Atlanta, Aurilia started at first base for lefty hitter Scott Hatteberg. Lately, Narron has been seeking chances to boost the offense by having both Aurilia and Encarnacion in the lineup.
"It helps that I've been in pennant races before and played through times like this," Aurilia said. "To me, it shows more that I move around. They trust me to play anywhere and I have confidence to play anywhere."