Jay Bruce's reward for being named the National League player of the week? A move up to the fourth spot in the lineup. It was the first time Bruce has hit cleanup this season. Bruce hit .354 with four home runs and 13 RBI to win the weekly honor. "It was something I've been thinking about," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "But I didn't want to do it if they had a lefty or a number of lefties in the 'pen. I might hit Jay fourth against righties and (Scott) Rolen fourth against lefties. We're trying to take advantage of (Bruce's) hot bat and help Joey (Votto), too, maybe." Votto was leading the National League in hitting against left-handers at .426 going into Tuesday. Bruce was fourth .381. "I know that," Baker said. "Strategically, I don't like the other manager to be able to take care of both of them with one lefty. I'd rather have them burn two bodies. It makes it too easy." Votto and Bruce hit third and fourth twice before: Sept. 18, 2008, in a 5-4 loss to St. Louis, and April 29, 2009, in a 3-0 win over Houston. Bruce's hot streak goes back more than a week. In his last 15 games before Tuesday, he was hitting .422 with eight home runs and 22 RBI. He looks like a lock to win player of the month honors for May. Going into the final day, Bruce was hitting .346 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI. He also led the NL with a .757 slugging percentage.
Jay Bruce named player of week
Cincinnati Enquirer | Jun 1