Originally written on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/29/14
Mlb_may_16_f1c9
GOODYEAR, Ariz. Brandon Phillips isnt parading around the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse holding aloft a placard that reads, Im No. 2.But he is OK with the fact that hell bat second in manager Dusty Bakers order and that if all goes well hell be No. 2 all year, giving him a sense of offensive stability.It hasnt always been that way and thats his own fault because the 31-year-old second baseman has offensive versatility.He has batted fourth. He has batted third. He has batted second. He has batted first.For example, Phillips batted fourth 73 times last year and the team was 43-30. He batted third 43 times when Joey Votto was injured and the team was 29-14. He batted first 28 times when Baker was searching for a leadoff guy and the team was 16-12.He didnt bat second. But thats where hell be this year because left fielder Ryan Ludwick is ensconced in the fourth spot and the Reds acquired leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians.Not many guys have the talent to bounce around a batting order the way Brandon does and it may not always be the best for him but it has worked out best for the team, said Baker.That should change and for Phillips thats all he wants, a permanent residence rather than a nomadic roaming around the batting order.As always, it is whatever the team wants, thats basically it, he said. Ive moved all over since I got here. The last time I hit in one spot was 07 and that was when I had my best year.He batted third that year and hit .288 with 30 home runs, 94 RBI and 33 stolen bases. But another guy arrived to take over the No. 3 spot, a guy named Joey Votto. And his memory is a bit spotty. In 2007 Phillips batted third only 17 times and hit .239 while he batted fourth 81 times and hit .306.If I could hit anywhere, I would love to hit third because I feel like I could do everything, he said. You feel more freedom, like a total ballplayer, and you feel like youre the man when you hit third.The Man now is Joey Votto, but Phillips isnt far behind and with a spot he can call his own he might emerge again offensively.Ill bat second if thats what they want, he said. At that spot you get to be more of a team player by getting the guys over (from second to third), do the hit and run and you dont get to steal that often. You are like the set-up man in the lineup.Whatever makes the team better, whatever they want me to do, Ill do it, he said. I just want to win.Personal goals are nice and sometimes selfish, but Phillips puts it in perspective by saying, Ill start my goals by saying we need to take another step up in the playoffs. Our goal every year is to win the ring, but I feel you have to take steps. So this year we need to at least get to the second round.Phillips finds it difficult to set personal goals for two reasons his tour through different spots in the batting order and his team concept.For myself, it is hard to set goals because every time I set a goal I end up changing spots in the batting order, he said. One year I wanted 100 RBI when I was batting fourth and they changed me to leadoff. Then I wanted to score 100 runs at leadoff and they put me back to fourth. There are so many things that make it hard for me to set goals for myself.And Phillips believes it makes it difficult for fans to appreciate him, although Phillips is close to being the face of the team with his radiant smile and swirling personality.It is hard for the Reds fans to see what I can really do on the field because of me moving all over the lineup, he said. I try the best I can because I am versatile enough to do whatever the Reds ask me to do. I think Im doing pretty good or I wouldnt still be here.The Reds gave Phillips a five-year, 72 million contract last year and he aims to give them every pennys worth of their money in effort.It is good that Dusty and my teammates appreciate me and love that about me, that Im a team player who will do what the team needs to do.And about that effort, or extra effort? Some, mostly opponents, say his extra effort, which is flair and extraneous showmanship, puts the label of hot dog on him. And to that, he says, If they think Im a hot dog, then pass the mustard.Phillips owns three Gold Gloves, but didnt win one last year and indicated he thought some managers and coaches didnt vote for him because they thought his nickname should be Oscar Mayer.It shouldnt have anything to do with personal likes or dislikes when it comes to playing ability, said Baker. It should come down to who is the best at that position. But it is a natural thing that people vote for who they like.Ive talked to him about it (toning it down) and Joe Morgan has talked to him about it, but after a while you quit talking about it and realize thats him and hope he just tones it down some.Phillips will play second base for the USA in the World Baseball Classic and cant wait for play to begin.Im looking forward to it because it is a dream come true, he said. To represent my country is something Ive always wanted to do since it started in 1996. Just to have an opportunity to do that is an honor and a blessing, especially getting to play for (manager) Joe Torre.And wherever Torre wants him in the batting order, Phillips says, Ill do it. Dont I always?
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Curt Schilling: Bumgarner's postseason is the best ever

Phil Jackson: Knicks ‘not ready for showtime’

Titans WR: Mettenberger better than Big Ben at same stage

Michael Vick: Starting at QB again is a dream come true

Red Sox to reportedly target Pablo Sandoval in offseason

Alex Rodriguez's season-long MLB ban comes to an end

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Madison Bumgarner pitches Giants to World Series title

Giants fans get rowdy celebrating World Series win

Roy Williams' response to criticism over academic scandal

Jerry Jones challenging Tony Romo to play Sunday?

Wizards make rapper Wale new 'creative liaison' for team

Report: Joe Maddon to become Cubs manager

State Farm has hilarious response to recent NFL injuries

WATCH: Michael Jordan trashes President Obama's golf game

GALLERY: Best of sports-themed pumpkins

WATCH: The LeBron Nike spot we've been waiting for

Kobe Bryant’s Wikipedia page listed him with 0-1 MMA record

WATCH: Amar'e sings with Swift for in-arena video bit

WATCH: Randle offers money for massage in jailhouse video

Top storyline for each Week 9 NFL game

WATCH: Chevy guy bombs World Series presentation

WATCH: James Ennis throws down dunk of the season

Kris Humphries shares nasty photo of gruesome finger injury

WATCH: Joe Panik makes play of the game in Game 7

Reds News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Curt Schilling praises Bumgarner

GALLERY: Best of sports pumpkins

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Tom Brady talks Peyton Manning

Best Game 7s in World Series history

NFL, MLB spend on mid-term elections

Gurley suspended four games

Gordie Howe suffered stroke

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.