Brandon Phillips is cleared to swing a bat

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Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Brandon Phillips has been cleared to begin swinging a bat. This after a visit with the surgeon who performed the operation on his thumb. This is a bit ahead of schedule for Phillips, who was supposed to miss six weeks.

Phillips is not having a particularly good year, but his absence has been felt on a Reds team that is already missing Joey Votto.

Jean Segura hits a three-run homer to put the AL up 5-2 in the eighth

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As we moved to the top of the eighth inning things started to loosen up. Which was good for the American League but not for the Senior Circuit.

Josh Hader of the Brewers was pitching and, in very un-2018-style, the American League strung together a couple of hits, with Shin-Soo Choo and George Springer singling. At that point Jen Segura of the Mariners came to the plate while Joe Buck spoke to National League outfielder Charlie Blackmon on the mic. Blackmon was entertaining until Joey Votto failed to corral a would-be foul out from Segura, at which point he tensed up a bit. Then Segura launched a massive three-run homer to left. Blackmon called Buck “bad luck,” Mitch Moreland singled and Blackmon said that if the next pitch wasn’t a double play ball, he was bailing on the broadcast.

With the Americans leading 5-2, Dave Roberts made a pitching change, bringing in Brad Hand with one out in the inning. Buck bid adieu to Blackmon, for which Blackmon seemed thankful. These mic’d up players are fun, but there’s a limit to how much distraction they’ll endure, even in a meaningless exhibition game.

Hand struck out Michael Brantley and then