Eight years ago, when he was competing for a utility job with the Indians, Brandon Phillips cut off all conversation with reporters, myself included. He went "media mute," as one colleague put it, because, from what I gather, he felt misunderstood, and the truth is he didn't have much good to say about an Indians organization that had dispatched him to the Minors after his initial big league struggles, anyway.

The only time Phillips did talk to us that spring was when he smiled one morning and made an admission.

"I liked that 'media mute' line," Phillips said. "That was pretty funny."

I bring this up because Phillips has gone 'media mute' again here in Reds camp. Only this time, it's a selective form of media muteness. He's not talking to the Cincinnati beat reporters, the guys around him essentially on a daily basis. He doesn't feel the fact that he played hurt last season -- Phillips was hit by a pitch in the forearm in early June, and his stats slid from that point forward -- has been given adequate attention in analysis of his 2013 efforts.

"I don't have nothing to say to those cats," Phillips said of the Cincinnati media. "They know what the deal is. They just talk about how I was falling off and declining. How the [expletive] am I declining? I had 100 ... ribbies [RBI] last year. And I did that with one ... hand. And I won a Gold Glove? So how the [expletive] am I declining? Come on, man."

Indeed, while Phillips is careful about who he opens up to, it's clear he still has plenty to say. About the media. About the Reds. About his role and his future and his frustrations.

As was the case eight years ago, relations between Phillips and his current team are not exactly rosy, given the rampant trade rumors that surrounded Phillips' name this past winter.