CLEVELAND -- It was certainly no surprise that outfielder Jonny Gomes served as the Reds' designated hitter on Friday against the Indians. He has American League experience and he was the DH in 16 of the Reds' previous 18 games at AL parks the past two seasons.

A new wrinkle for the struggling Gomes, however, was that he batted second in manager Dusty Baker's lineup. Gomes was hitless in four at-bats during the club's 5-4 loss.

"That's the best lineup I could come up with. Hopefully, it will get him going the way it got Jay Bruce going," Baker said prior to the game.

Bruce was scuffling when he batted second for Cincinnati from April 25 to May 1. Since May 2, he has batted .305 (18-for-59) with five homers and 13 RBIs. The Reds would certainly take those numbers from Gomes, whose average dropped to .176. His Monday homer against the Cubs gave him his first long ball since April 17 and first RBIs since April 30.

Theoretically, at least, Gomes could see more fastballs batting second -- especially if leadoff man Drew Stubbs reaches base ahead of him. Of course, Gomes is also ahead of the Reds' third hitter, and best hitter, Joey Votto.

"You still have to swing at strikes," Baker said. "I remember in the past, I put Glenallen Hill in front of Barry [Bonds] and they were still throwing him balls and he was still swinging at balls."

Gomes entered the night batting .172 (5-for-33) in 11 games batting second over his career, including five starts.

"Maybe hitting in front of Joey will [help] but not hitting in the two-hole," Gomes said. "You only hit in the two-hole the top of the first inning, and then that's it. I've never hit in front of him. I've hit behind him a number of times. So we'll see."

As for being the DH, Gomes didn't necessarily expect a boost with extra time to watch video or think about hitting. This could be a pivotal series for Gomes, who has lost some playing time in left field because of his extended slump to start the season.

"As far as looking for hits, it doesn't help at all," Gomes said. "In this day and age, when you see guys succeeding in the DH role, you see guys fail in the DH role. It's almost another position. It's not really the unathletic guy gets thrown in the DH role. These days, it's becoming a science, if you will. It's not for everybody. The first part to having success in the DH role is to be willing to DH. And I'm definitely willing to DH."

Chapman resumes throwing from mound

CLEVELAND -- Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman has resumed throwing on the side as he tries to return from left shoulder inflammation.

Chapman did some long tossing in the outfield at Progressive Field on Friday, then threw off of the mound in the bullpen with pitching coach Bryan Price supervising. It wasn't the first time Chapman has thrown.

"We've been working a little bit on some light stuff. That was probably the heaviest he's thrown," Price said. "We've been trying to get the delivery back together. I think that, at times, has been a little bit taxing to his arm. It's not wholesale changes, but we're trying to make sure the timing is right."

The 23-year-old Chapman has been on the 15-day disabled list since Monday after a stretch of wildness and ineffectiveness. He had been charged for nine earned runs and 12 walks over his previous four appearances. The club determined that Chapman had fallen into some bad mechanics that put too much stress on his arm.

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"You have to put the arm in a certain position to create soreness," Price said. "We're really trying to avoid that position at all costs."

Chapman is eligible to come off of the DL on May 31, but a targeted return date is not yet known.

Both Ohio clubs off to sweltering starts

CLEVELAND -- In their respective divisions, the Reds sit just outside of first place and the Indians have been there a while. The two teams haven't met in Interleague Play when both were in first place since July 9-11, 1999.

Reds manager Dusty Baker thought of the possibilities with both teams playing well.

"I think it speaks volumes for the state of Ohio when you have two teams, and both of them are at the top," Baker said prior to Friday's game. "It's a long ways off, but it would be great for both to end up in the playoffs in the end. It would be a dream come true to have both of them in the World Series."

Worth noting

• Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday.

• Professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage died on Friday at the age of 58 after an auto accident. Savage, (born Randy Poffo) was a former Minor League Baseball player from 1971-74. His final year was with Class A Tampa in the Reds' organization.