Phillips thought he'd lost an eye
By Marc Lancaster / Post staff reporter
HOUSTON - Brandon Phillips obviously was in pain after a throw bounced up and hit him in the left eye Tuesday night, but that was the least of his worries.
"I was scared," Phillips said Wednesday morning. "I thought I lost my eye, to tell you the truth."
Phillips remained on the ground for a while after being struck by that throw from Ryan Freel, and he wasn't sure what had happened. He said he still doesn't know if the ball hit him flush or ricocheted off his glove. The last thing he saw was the ball bouncing off the turf.
"I couldn't see nothing," said Phillips. "I kept on saying, 'I can't see.' It really hurt, and I kept on asking, 'Does it look bad? Does it look bad?' It felt like my eyelid was just shut, and I really couldn't see. Then when I opened up my eye, everything was blurry. I tried to stay out there, but it wouldn't come back into focus so they took me out of the game."
Phillips was taken to a local hospital for tests, which he passed, and he said his vision was back to normal Wednesday. In fact, there were no obvious signs that anything had happened. Teammate Adam Dunn got up close and inspected Phillips' face, finding nothing wrong until Phillips pointed to a slight bump underneath his left eyebrow.
That knot was the only lingering effect of the blow. Phillips said his eye felt "heavy," but he expected the bruise to subside after some icing.
"I can see now, I just have trouble looking up," he said. "I lose my focus when I look straight up."
Still, Phillips said he wanted to play Wednesday afternoon, but understood why he couldn't. He's hoping to be back in the starting lineup Friday.
DOG DAYS - The Reds began the series finale without three-fourths of their usual starting infield.
Joining Phillips on the bench were Rich Aurilia and Edwin Encarnacion, both of whom seemed tired to manager Jerry Narron.
"Richie said he could really use a day (off), day game after night game," said Narron. "I don't know if (Encarnacion) needs a day, but Eddie looks like he does. ... He's had too good a year to let him get just so worn down that he can't play like he's supposed to. I'm hoping these two days off back-to-back will help him a little."
In their stead, Ray Olmedo started at second base, Royce Clayton at shortstop and Juan Castro at third base. That was the same defense-oriented group that held down those positions for the final two innings of Tuesday night's victory.
DOUBLE PLAY - Ryan Freel and Chris Denorfia had a slight collision in right-center field in the third inning Wednesday, and both players were out of the game by the fourth.
The run-in was responsible only for Denorfia's injury. As the two outfielders came together, Freel stepped on Denorfia's left ankle and opened up a cut that wouldn't stop bleeding. Five stitches were needed to close the wound, but there shouldn't be any lingering effects.
"We'll re-evaluate him on Friday to determine his availability, but I would think he'd be fully available," said Reds trainer Mark Mann.
Freel left the game with a sprained left wrist that flared up on him after he originally injured it diving for a ball Tuesday night. NOTE: there's a story today that he injured his thumb.
"As the game went on today, he just couldn't hold the bat," said Narron.
Freel will be examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek today.
LOOKING AHEAD - Narron was asked if he might take an extended look at some of the seldom-used players on his roster, like utility infielder Brendan Harris, in the final week and a half.
"I would love to see Harris play some," said Narron. "If he doesn't get to play much, spring training will be huge for him."
Harris has appeared in four games as a Red, going 0-for-5 at the plate with three strikeouts. Unless he starts the majority of the remaining 10 games, which isn't going to happen, he will have to wait for spring training to make an impression.
"Harris has been here since Aug. 31 and if you sit for three weeks, then you can't really judge somebody," said Narron. "I don't think that's fair to him."
EYE ON TUESDAY - If Matt Belisle is going to start Tuesday at Florida, he hasn't been told as much. Not in so many words, anyway.
"I don't know what's going on," Belisle said Wednesday morning. "They mentioned that (starting Tuesday) might be an option. But as far as anything set in stone, no."
Belisle expects to know one way or the other by Friday so he can make the necessary preparations. He hasn't started a game since May 31, 2005, the last of five starts among his 60 appearances for the Reds a year ago.
Sep. 21, 2006
CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ryan Freel will miss the rest of the season because of a hairline fracture of his left thumb, the team said Thursday.