- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Brandon Phillips hit his third home run in four games and Roger Bernadina added to his big spring for Cincinnati, belting a three-run shot and driving in four runs to help the Reds defeat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 on Saturday.

Bernadina, who went deep in the first inning off starter Edwin Jackson, is hitting .417 with three homers and 10 RBIs.

“He hasn’t been just the athletic guy … he’s been productive, for power, for speed,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s got some bunt hits, he’s driving in some runs, he’s grinded out some walks.

“He’s just been very, very efficient,” Price added. “There’s no doubt about it, when he’s getting a pitch to hit, he’s not missing it.”


Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani, a likely member of the rotation, gave up three runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked four.

“The most important thing is he showed arm strength again. He had a couple outings in a row where he just didn’t feel like his arm had any life in it,” Price said. “Today, he had velocity and a better breaking pitch. He was just missing up in the zone a little bit.”

Jackson, slated to start the second game of the season in Pittsburgh, allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

Anthony Rizzo went 3 for 3 for the Cubs, raising his batting average to .368.

BAEZ SENT TO MINORS

Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs‘ top shortstop prospect, was assigned to minor league camp. The move was expected. Baez is expected to play Triple-A Iowa.

Baez has generated much spring-training buzz by hitting .310 with five solo homers. He’s also made an occasional spectacular play at shortstop.

“He’s made a lot of progress,” manager Rick Renteria said. “One of the things we talked about was to make sure he understands to continue to work on his defense and to put together some good at-bats, try to get on base a little bit more and just go out there and be a professional.”

STARTING TIME

Cubs: Chicago announced the pitching schedule for the first few games after Jeff Samardzija gets the ball on opening day, March 31 at Pittsburgh.

Based on matchups, Jackson will pitch the second game, April 2 at Pittsburgh, followed by Jason Hammel on April 3 at Pittsburgh. Travis Wood will pitch vs. Philadelphia in the home opener on April 4.

Story Continues →