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07/19/09 5:59 PM ET

Sore left knee sends Hernandez to DL

Reds catcher to have surgery, miss four-to-six weeks

CINCINNATI -- The Reds lost another regular player to the disabled list on Sunday.

Catcher Ramon Hernandez has been bothered by a sore left knee for quite a while, but it's finally gotten to the point where he can no longer play. Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will have surgery to clean out the knee. He will miss four-to-six weeks.

"I've had this for two months," Hernandez said Sunday morning before the results of Saturday's MRI exam were known. "I've been trying to play and gut it out and do what's best. I'm trying to help and do what I can to play. Now it's gotten worse."

Backup catcher Ryan Hanigan started again in Hernandez's place on Sunday. The Reds called up catcher Craig Tatum from Triple-A Louisville to take the open spot on the 25-man roster.

Hernandez is batting .249 with five home runs and 36 RBIs this season. On Thursday, while trying to score in a close play at the plate, he made no attempt to slide.

Some wondered at the time why he wasn't sliding, but there was a legitimate reason.

"I slid in New York during [last Sunday's] game and it hurt so bad," Hernandez said. "If I slid here, I didn't know what was going to happen."

Hernandez has also been bothered by a sore left hand and has played through that, as well.

"[The hand] has been better. I've had some cortisone shots on it," Hernandez said.

With Wilkin Castillo out for the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the only remaining healthy catcher on the Reds' 40-man roster was Tatum. He was batting .239 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 64 games this season for Louisville and this will be his first call up to the Majors.

"He's here to learn and play at the same time like a lot of the guys we have here," Reds manager Dusty Baker said after Sunday's 5-3 win over the Brewers.

The Reds have played only 10 games this season with their projected starting lineup as Baker has been forced to mix and match because of frequent injuries.

Just before the All-Star break, right fielder Jay Bruce fractured his right wrist and will miss six-to-eight weeks. Pitchers Edinson Volquez (right elbow tendinitis) and Mike Lincoln (neck) and shortstop Alex Gonzalez are others from the Opening Day roster that are currently on the DL. First baseman Joey Votto and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion also spent extensive time out earlier this season.

The Reds should be getting Gonzalez back soon. He left on Sunday for a rehabilitation assignment at Louisville. The decision was made on Saturday after a couple days of workouts.

"We just wanted to see if he had any residual effects from throwing," Baker said. "He threw a lot, hit a lot and hit off of Micah Owings."

If all goes well, Gonzalez will join the Reds in Chicago during Thursday's off-day and be activated from the DL on Friday when the Reds open a three-game series vs. the Cubs.

The Reds also had a second roster move after Sunday's game. Reliever Jared Burton was recalled from Louisville while another reliever, Robert Manuel, was optioned back to the Bats. Since being sent down on July 1, Burton was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in seven games for Louisville. He walked three and struck out seven.

Manuel, who was called up for the first time on July 9, worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings in three games for the Reds.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.