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08/10/08 1:00 PM ET

Reds juggle catching rotation

Ross designated for assignment; Hanigan called up

CINCINNATI -- In a move that had been expected, the Reds reinstated right-hander Aaron Harang from the 15-day disabled list and put him into the starting slot for the series finale Sunday against the Astros.

But the Reds had to have other discussions to open a spot on the 25-man roster for Harang. They did.

Cincinnati optioned right-hander Homer Bailey, winless in the Major Leagues this season, to Triple-A Louisville, designated catcher David Ross for assignment and called up catcher Ryan Hanigan from Louisville.

"A lot of changes," manager Dusty Baker said before Sunday's game with the Astros.

The move seemed to signal that Baker planned to take a closer look at players who can help the Reds succeed beyond this season.

The decision to designate Ross put more of the catching load on 36-year-old Paul Bako, though Baker decided to use the 27-year-old Hanigan right away. Hanigan caught Harang on Sunday, and his youth might suggest he's the heir-apparent for the starting catcher's job.

What he'd been doing in Louisville this season helped him get to the bigs. In 75 games, Hanigan hit .324 with four homers and 35 RBIs.

"Hanigan's playing well. He's been playing well," Baker said. "Ross did a good job for us. We had him on trade waivers; he's wasn't claimed. I know there were some teams interested in him. Now we're not heading north; we're heading south."

The move was, Baker said, less about what Ross, 31, did now, and more about what Hanigan can do for the club in the future.

Baker said having Hanigan in the big leagues will allow him to learn from Bako, whom the manager called one of the best at handling pitchers. He hoped those lessons will better prepare Hanigan for whatever the future might be.

"Sometimes you've got to make a move to see what's going on," Baker said of the decision to juggle his catching rotation.

The manager didn't rule out making other moves. Outfielder Chris Dickerson, now in his second season with Triple-A, was mentioned, and Baker said he had his eye on Dickerson, a 16th-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.