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Baseball

Reds’ Phillips relishes change

– Second baseman Brandon Phillips is embracing the chance to bat lower in the Cincinnati Reds’ order.

Phillips has been Cincinnati’s most versatile hitter, moving from spot to spot whenever there’s been an injury. He’s also would up batting first a lot because the Reds haven’t had a proven leadoff hitter.

They acquired Shin-Soo Choo from Cleveland in an offseason trade, giving them someone to bat first. Now Phillips can move down a bit to a spot that fits him better. He says he likes batting third best of all, but is willing to move around if needed.

Phillips is getting ready to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic. The Reds have blocked pitcher Johnny Cueto from playing for the Dominican Republic because he’s coming off an injury.

Quiet closer

Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez is promising not to run his mouth off the mound anymore.

Perez was embroiled in controversy most of last season, when he knocked Cleveland fans for not supporting the team, criticized ownership for not spending money and irritated some opposing teams with gestures on the field. Perez says he won’t be a distraction this season.

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