NEW YORK -- Todd Frazier has some sizable shoes to fill for the Reds at third base, and manager Dusty Baker thinks the youngster is doing a formidable job for someone who hasn't always been all that familiar with the position.
Frazier, who came up through the Reds' system primarily as a left fielder, has played first, second, shortstop, left field and mostly third base in his two seasons with the Reds. He's now tasked with filling in for the injured Scott Rolen.
"There are very few people in the history of the game that have played third base like Scott Rolen's played third base," Baker said.
But in 41 games with Cincinnati this season, Frazier -- a New Jersey product, returning close to home this weekend to face the Mets -- is hitting .273 with seven homers and 22 RBIs.
"That was one of the reasons he was playing so many positions -- everyone was trying to figure out which one he's best at," Baker said. "And the one he was best at was hitting. After that, we tried to find a place that's gonna be right for him and right for us."
Rolen, out since May 12 with a strained left shoulder, will play two rehab games with Triple-A Louisville before likely returning Monday in Cleveland. When that time comes, Baker expects to continue to find places to use Frazier.
"We're gonna get him in there," Baker said. "He's earned that right to play, because he's really performed well, especially performed well in run-producing situations. He's not afraid, he's not intimidated by any situation. That's what you like to see in a young guy."
Valdez in center with Stubbs on DL, Heisey out
NEW YORK -- Dusty Baker knows the Reds are lucky to have two more-than-capable center fielders in Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey. Cincinnati is just that unlucky that they'd both be sidelined at the same time.
Heisey is nursing a mild left groin strain after he said he felt tightness when he crossed the plate in the fourth inning of Cincinnati's win against the Indians on Thursday. Stubbs' recovery from an oblique injury has been slowed by a flu-like virus making its way through the Reds' clubhouse.
"Right now, we're kind of mixing and matching," Baker said. "It really hurts when you've got both center fielders down. Most teams are lucky to have two. We have a real good one in Stubbs, and Heisey plays a real good center field."
As a result, Wilson Valdez made his third career appearance in center field Friday in New York, and his first career start there. Rookie Kristopher Negron filled in Thursday.
"For me, it's all the same," Valdez said. "You have to go out there with the mindset of doing whatever you have to do to help the team win."
The Reds transferred right-hander Nick Masset to the 60-day disabled list (sprained right shoulder) Friday and officially placed Stubbs on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 6 with hopes of him returning when the club heads back to Cincinnati next weekend.
The team selected utility man Willie Harris from Triple-A Louisville to fill the empty roster spot. Harris, the only non-roster player to make the Reds' Opening Day roster, was outrighted to Louisville on May 7 and has played second base, third base, shortstop and outfield there.
Baker said Heisey, who is batting .275 with a homer and 12 RBIs in 53 games this year, should not be sidelined for long.
"Heisey's a little tight," Baker said. "He didn't pull it. It's just tight. That's a plus. With the big ol' strong legs he has, tight means real tight."
Baker also said that catcher Devin Mesoraco, who also left Thursday's game with muscle cramps in his side, appears to be OK.