Chris Heisey spent all of spring training and six weeks of the season looking for his swing.
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“All spring, I was waiting for my swing to click,” he said. “I didn’t want to press too hard because it was spring training. It never really did. For the first month or so, I was pretty much completely lost at the plate.”
Heisey’s average was hovering around .200 when he and hitting coach Brook Jacoby had a breakthrough.
“We were in the cage,” Heisey said before the Reds’ 4-1 win over the Astros on Friday. “I was talking to Jacoby. I was feeling like I wasn’t behind the ball. We kind of took the swing and went back to basics. I found out my hands weren’t getting separated. Ever since then, I’ve concentrated on getting my hands away from my body.”
“I’ve been able to stay back on breaking balls and not swing at so many breaking balls down in the dirt. That kind of thing.”
He is 20 for his last 50. His average is up to .283.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Brook,” Heisey said. “He was able to get on top of it for me and get me going.”
Leake goes seven strong this time
–RHP Mike Leake went seven innings and allowed one run on four hits. He walked three and struck out seven. His last time out he was pulled after 3 2/3 innings. “It was kind of weird game,” Leake said. “It wasn’t like I was getting smashed. It was the fact that I threw so many pitches. It was kind of weird. Of course, I was determined to go more than three. You’re always determined to go more than three. I was glad I was able to eat some innings.”
–LHP Aroldis Chapman struck out the side on 13 pitches for his fourth save Friday. He’s 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA. In 27 innings, he’s allowed seven hits, eight walks and struck 47.
–1B Joey Votto went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak at Minute Maid Park to 19 games. He also made a nice play on Chris Snyder’s bases-loaded grounder in the second. “That was a heck of a play by Joey,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “When a right-hander hits the ball down there, it’s spinning. Joey came in and made a clean play and made a good throw to the plate.”
–RF Jay Bruce, 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, is 8-for-22 with two homers and six RBI in his last six games.
–LHP Bill Bray (back, groin) threw a bullpen session Friday in Arizona. It went well. The plan is for him to pitch in an extended spring game Monday. If that goes well, he could go out in a rehab assignment.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 1/2 — Reds’ lead in the National League Central after their victory Friday, coupled with St. Louis Cardinals’ 8-0 loss to the New York Mets. The Reds hadn’t led by 2 1/2 game since April 12 of last season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “That day off is huge. But it’s important to come back and play well. Sometimes, you come out a little dead-legged. We didn’t.” — RF Jay Bruce on the Reds winning the first game after their first off day in 21 days
–RHP Nick Masset (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He threw on flat ground May 24 for the first time. There is no timetable for his return.
–LHP Bill Bray (strained left groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Louisville on April 29, but he moved back to extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., after one outing. He resumed throwing May 28, but there was no timetable for his return. He threw a bullpen session June 1.
–3B Scott Rolen (strained left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 12. He had yet to resume baseball activities on May 29.
–RHP Ryan Madson (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He is out for the season.