PITTSBURGH -- As bench coach Chris Speier fills the role of acting manager while Dusty Baker recovers from a minor stroke, who is doing his job? Specifically, no one.
"I'm still doing the running game. I do the defense," Speier said on Friday. "I still do the stuff that I do. It's nothing out of the ordinary."
As for the pitching staff, Speier leans heavily on pitching coach Bryan Price and assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins.
"I couldn't be doing this without their help," Speier said. "They have it pretty well lined up -- who's available, who's not, what's a good situation to bring guys in. Bryan has always been very vocal about that. I always will follow his lead on that. And when the hitting things come up, I ask Brook [Jacoby]. I get input from Brook on the hitters."
As for Baker, he appears on target to return to work on Monday at St. Louis for the beginning of the final regular season series.
"I talked to Dusty today," Speier said. "First and foremost important, he is really good and anxious and ready to come back."
Versatile Frazier makes sixth start in left field
PITTSBURGH -- For the first time since June 30, Reds rookie Todd Frazier found himself in the lineup as a left fielder on Friday against the Pirates. The move was more forward thinking than just about finding a place for him to play.
"I'm pretty excited. You never know in playoff time, anything can happen," said Frazier, who started his sixth game of the season in left field. "You have to cover all your bases as a coaching staff and team. They know I can play all the positions and they understand when the time is needed, they can get me out there."
During Thursday's 2-1 win over the Brewers, Frazier hit the game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth -- his first long ball since Aug. 21. He has started 36 games this season at first base and 65 at third base.
The Reds have been without regular left fielder Ryan Ludwick since he left a Sept. 19 game at Chicago with tightness in his left groin. Acting manager Chris Speier expects Ludwick to start on Sunday.
"One of the great things about Fraz is he is very flexible in regards to where he can play," Speier said. "He can play third and first and now the outfield. It gives us more options just in case. We're anxious to get Ludwick back in the swing of things."
If Ludwick plays without issue Sunday, then he can likely play the final three games in St. Louis. But Frazier makes for suitable insurance.
"That's a big decision for Dusty [Baker] and this team to see how ready [Ludwick] is," Speier said. "I don't foresee any problems with Ludwick. He's been down this road before."
Scouts at PNC Park to keep tabs on Reds
PITTSBURGH -- A contingent of scouts from various clubs in the postseason hunt were on a plane from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh on Friday, including former Reds manager and current Nationals assistant general manager Bob Boone. Many more scouts figure to be at PNC Park to watch and help their teams prepare for the Reds.
Cincinnati acting manager Chris Speier doesn't expect his club to withhold anything from its bag of tricks to not tip its hand for the postseason.
"No. 1, we play the game to win. Again, we play the game in regards to you don't want to get people hurt too much by being overly aggressive in certain situations," Speier said. "Baseball doesn't really have a lot of trick plays that nobody already doesn't know about or doesn't have."
On the other hand, the Reds might give clubs some things to think about.
"I love to throw those in because it gets the other side thinking a little bit about, 'Oh my gosh, these guys might squeeze in that situation,'" Speier said. "If you don't, it usually puts the hitter in a pretty advantageous hitting count."