05/25/12 6:54 PM ET
Bruce gets day off to clear head, relax
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
This is a mental break for Bruce, who entered the game vs. the Rockies in an 0-for-14 funk and 1-for-his-last-31.
"I want him to have fun today," Baker said. "Just go and play some first base [during BP]. Don't hit in the cage, don't do anything except clear your mind. Then he'll be back in there [Saturday]. Sometimes you need to clear your head. It's time."
Bruce had struck out 16 times during his 1-for-31 stretch. His batting average has dropped from .305 to .252, with a team-leading 10 home runs and 28 RBIs.
"I want him to lift. I want him to get a massage. I want him to use the Jacuzzi and eat, mess around at first and get loose just in case he's in the game," Baker said.
When his younger hitters are slumping, Baker likes to have them watch the game closely and pay closer attention to the at-bats from guys on both teams.
"It's hard to see yourself or watch anyone else when you're struggling," Baker said. "Most of the time, you've got your head down trying to figure something out. It's hard to watch with your head down."
Rolen progressing, but taking time in rehab
CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 12 because of a left shoulder strain, reported progress in the past couple of days with his rehab.
"I certainly felt like I was going in the right direction," Rolen said on Friday. "We're still 'actively resting.' I haven't started any baseball stuff, yet."
There has been no discussion, Rolen noted, of when he might resume trying to hit.
"I'm getting closer to where I can see it coming," Rolen said. "Three or four days ago, I didn't want to pick a bat up. Right now, I know I shouldn't pick a bat up even though I am making progress."
Rolen, who has spent several stints on the DL since 2005 because of the shoulder, is not planning on rushing back prematurely.
"Ideally, this is the last time I want to spend on the DL," Rolen said. "If that takes me a few extra days or an extra week or so, I'd rather do it that way."
Wins starting to come with Mesoraco catching
CINCINNATI -- The win-loss records and pitchers' ERAs can be tough stats to hang on the shoulders of the catcher. However, the wins differential between Reds catchers Ryan Hanigan and rookie Devin Mesoraco was noticeable earlier in the year. Mesoraco was certainly paying attention.
However, the Reds have won the last four games that Mesoraco has caught. He primarily works with starters Mike Leake and Homer Bailey.
"Individually, it's kind of hard to evaluate how many wins because it depends on how many runs we score that certain day or who's pitching," Mesoraco said on Friday. "There are a bunch of different variables. Ultimately, you feel good when you're back there and the team gets a win."
Entering Friday, the staff was 18-8 with a 2.77 ERA when Hanigan catches and 7-11 with a 4.24 ERA with Mesoraco. However, Leake started out 0-5 before finding a groove over his last two starts. Bailey dropped his first two starts but has quality outings in seven of his nine games pitched. Meanwhile, Hanigan, who was back behind the plate Friday, has caught ace Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo, who are enjoying strong starts to their seasons, and Mat Latos.
"Every game I played in, we were losing. It kind of got a little bit old after a while," Mesoraco said. "It still feels bad. I want to win games. If we're not doing it when I'm back there, I'm going to feel bad, even if it's not my fault."
Bailey, who was the winning pitcher of Thursday's 6-3 game over the Braves that included Mesoraco's grand slam, has been pleased with his battery mate.
"He's doing a real good job behind the plate," Bailey said. "We go over hitters before the game, and it's definitely showing up on the field."
Injured reliever Bill Bray, who initially went on the disabled list April 24 with a left groin strain, was shut down from throwing earlier this week because of a sore lower back. An MRI exam revealed no structural issues, but Bray did have disc irritation. He could resume throwing on Monday.
Reliever Nick Masset, who has been out all season because of a right shoulder injury, threw for the second day in a row on Friday. Head trainer Paul Lessard said Masset's session went "much better" than the first day of throwing on Thursday.
The Reds announced on Friday that the rained out May 1 game vs. the Cubs has been rescheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 18, as part of a day-night doubleheader. Fans with tickets to the May 1 game can use their same ticket for admission to the afternoon game with no exchange necessary.