Reds OF Jay Bruce out of lineup

CHICAGO -- Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker is giving slumping outfielder Jay Bruce a couple days off.

Bruce hit .213 in July and is batting .200 in August. He's hitless in his last 12 at-bats with seven strikeouts.

Baker said Friday the slump is "like being in quicksand" and called the time off a "last resort."

Even with Bruce slumping and slugger Joey Votto sidelined since July 15, Cincinnati entered Friday 2½ games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

Xavier Paul was in the starting lineup for Bruce on Friday. Third baseman Scott Rolen was also held out of the lineup for a third straight game due to a sore back.