CINCINNATI -- All signs are pointing to Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick being activated from the disabled list on Monday, when the Reds open a road trip at Chicago against the Cubs.
Ludwick has been out since he separated his right shoulder on Opening Day and needed surgery to repair a torn labrum. On a rehab assignment, Ludwick was in the lineup for Triple-A Louisville on Friday. In his previous 11 games, he was 4-for-36 with one homer.
"We've got a plan. He probably won't be here this weekend, but he will be here soon," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Baker was asked if he might ease Ludwick back into the lineup.
"We'll find what kind of timing he has, how his legs feel," Baker said. "We need some clutch hitting and RBIs in the middle part of the order. He's one of the best we have. I'm hoping, sooner rather than later, he will have it together."
Hanigan returns to Reds as Miller hits disabled list
CINCINNATI -- It took longer than he expected it would, but Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan was finally off of the disabled list on Friday and in the starting lineup vs. the Padres.
Hanigan had been out since July 11 with a left wrist sprain.
"It's been a grind getting over this hand thing, but the trainer has done a good job. I've got my strength back. It feels pretty good," Hanigan said. "I've been doing a lot of stuff, going to the bullpen and just taking at-bats off pitchers doing their stuff, trying to get my timing offensively. Defensively, I feel fine. I've been catching some 'pens, keeping my arms and legs in shape."
To make room for Hanigan on the roster, backup catcher Corky Miller was placed on the 15-day DL with a right quadriceps contusion. Miller was injured during a play at the plate vs. the A's on Wednesday.
Hanigan has been eligible for activation since July 25, and he felt close to a return until his wrist and hand started hurting when he was swinging the bat.
"The last five or six [days], it's been pretty good," Hanigan said. "I definitely think I jumped the gun there trying to come off that first time I had a chance to. It took a little longer than I thought, unfortunately."
Hanigan is back without going on a rehab assignment in the Minors to get some at-bats. He entered the night batting .193 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 46 games.
"I've seen guys do well without a rehab stint," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He wasn't exactly hot when he went down. Sometimes guys can just be natural. I remember [former Reds catcher] Ramon Hernandez didn't go down for a rehab stint and he did great."
As for the catching system, Baker was non-committal. Devin Mesoraco has done the bulk of the catching in Hanigan's absence. Hanigan usually started three times out of the five-man rotation.
If there is a silver lining to Hanigan's extended absence, it's that his legs and body should be able to endure through the end of the season, and potentially the playoffs.
"I had a lot of chances to get some real good workouts in," Hanigan said. "I feel good in terms of that aspect. I healed up some bumps and bruises along the way for sure. I'm hoping I am going to be strong and feel good for the push here, more than maybe if I had been playing all year. That's definitely an optimistic way to look at it for sure."
Impinged nerve sidelines Masset for season
CINCINNATI -- The medical news hasn't been very positive for Reds reliever Nick Masset the past couple of years. On Friday, it was revealed that Masset will need surgery because of thoracic outlet syndrome.
"He's got an impinged nerve," head trainer Paul Lessard said.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, the injury is usually located under the collarbone and can cause discomfort in the shoulder and neck areas and numbness in the fingers.
"They have to remove your first rib," Lessard said. "[Dodgers pitcher Josh] Beckett had it not long ago."
The surgery on Masset will be performed next week at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and it means he will miss the rest of this season. Besides Beckett, Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter and Mets pitcher Shaun Marcum have also undergone the operation.
Masset, 31, has been in Goodyear, Ariz., all season rehabbing from right shoulder surgery, which he had last September. He last pitched for the Reds in 2011, and not at all since he signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract after that season.
Cueto, Marshall hope to begin throwing programs soon
CINCINNATI -- Reds ace Johnny Cueto, on his third disabled list stint since June 29 because of a strained right lat muscle, still has yet to begin a throwing program. Lefty reliever Sean Marshall, who has been out since May 24 with a sprained left shoulder, has not thrown at all since having a setback in mid-July.
"Both are improving, but have some strength deficits," Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said. "They had strength testing on Wednesday, obviously they have different deficits with different injuries. We've kind of mapped out programs for them over the next 7-10 days. If their numbers are improved, we'll start throwing programs for both of them."
It's getting close to the point where both pitchers might run out of time before the end of the regular season. Both would need rehab assignments, but Minor League seasons end in early September.
"I know, but I have to follow what we have laid out for healthy bodies," Lessard said.