Baker turns to Bruce to fill leadoff role
Cincinnati (31-35) vs. St. Louis (39-27), Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker freely admitted that rookie Jay Bruce wasn't his first choice to serve as his leadoff hitter on Tuesday vs. the Cardinals.
Then again, there were no other options.
"By the process of elimination," Baker said.
The Reds' previous leadoff hitter, Jerry Hairston, will be out at least two weeks with a fractured left thumb. Another leadoff guy, Ryan Freel, suffered a partial tear of his right hamstring last week. And Corey Patterson has struggled from the leadoff spot all season, and there's no room for him in the outfield with Bruce, Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr.
"Leadoff men are the hardest guys to find in sports -- baseball at least," Baker said. "Jerry was doing a hell of a job."
Bruce went 1-for-4 with a single in the No. 1 spot during the Reds' 7-2 loss vs. the Cardinals on Tuesday. He's a good bet to be there again on Wednesday.
"It's day-by-day until I get guys back," Baker said. "I talked to him about my experience with batting leadoff. Just hit the same. I know he's not your prototypical leadoff hitter, but neither is Hanley Ramirez, Bobby Bonds, Alfonso Soriano and the young man in Arizona, Chris Young."
Since he joined the Reds on May 27, Bruce is batting .390 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 15 games