Created on Saturday, 08 March 2014 Written by JOSE M. ROMERO, Associated Press
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Chris Heisey is confident in knowing he doesn't have to put a lot of pressure on himself to make the Cincinnati Reds' major league roster out of spring training. A seasoned veteran and valuable fourth outfielder, he can focus on more specialized parts of his game.
Heisey looked to be dialed in on Friday, hitting two homers as a split squad of Reds beat the Seattle Mariners 10-9. Brandon Phillips also homered.
Heisey hit his second and third homers of spring training and drove in four runs.
"I was able to take advantage of two mistakes today and that's really the name of the game when you're up there," Heisey said.
"Going into my fifth year, I don't have to come in here and really prove that I can hit. It's more just about trying to work on my timing," he said. "That's nice, to be able to just kind of relax and do your thing, because I've been in this spot where you're desperately trying to make a club and it's easy to press and try too hard."
Phillips hit his first homer and drove in three runs while scoring three times.
"Right now I'm just trying to see as many pitches as possible and try to go up there and have quality ABs and try to hit the ball hard every at-bat," he said.
Billy Hamilton stole two bases, giving him four in Cactus League play for the Reds.
Reds starter Brett Marshall threw three shutout innings, working around four hits and three walks while striking out four.
Randy Wolf allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in three innings.
Jesus Montero doubled twice for the Mariners and Kyle Seager reached base three times.
Reds: Marshall isn't likely to crack the Reds' starting rotation anytime soon, but he now has five shutout innings to his credit after two spring training starts.
Mariners: Wolf is trying to resurrect his career after the second Tommy John surgery of his career forced him to miss all of the 2013 season. His second spring training start didn't go nearly as well as his first, but Wolf is still in the running for a spot at the back end of the starting rotation because the Mariners have injuries to two starters at present, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker.
"I've never had a glorious spring training in my life," Wolf said. "For me, spring training is always about physically preparing myself. You never want to give up runs and to always get stronger and stronger and physically feel good. Unfortunately, in the position I'm in, you don't have those luxuries."
If this is the year Hamilton takes over in center field full-time for the Reds, he showed flashes of what he can provide. He reached base only once, but stole two bases and scored in the fifth inning.
Hamilton also prevented a run in the fifth inning with a strong yet errant throw home, and he made a diving catch to take a hit away from Mike Zunino.
"He also got to see some of the defensive shifts that teams are going to work with him," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "They're going to throw some infield defenses at him that he'll have to get used to, too, but the speed element is exciting for all of us."
Mariners: Second baseman Robinson Cano missed his second straight game after having a root canal. He's day-to-day to return.
Reds: Right-hander Mat Latos will throw a bullpen session Saturday. He had surgery on his right elbow last October and left knee surgery last month.
For the Reds, right-hander Alfredo Simon makes his third spring training start Saturday against the Cubs. The Mariners take on San Francisco with right-hander Blake Beavan set to make his third appearance.