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09/25/12 7:21 PM ET

Reds able to rest injured players down stretch

CINCINNATI -- As the Reds play their final nine games of the regular season, acting manager Chris Speier is not afraid to give some injured players maximum rest to get healthy before the playoffs.

Third baseman Scott Rolen, who hasn't played since Friday, was given another day of rest on Tuesday as he deals with nagging back and neck issues. Todd Frazier started his third straight game at third base.

"He felt good today, and I thought, 'OK, let's give him one more day,'" Speier said. "There's that fine line of balancing health with at-bats. I know Scotty, he wants at-bats, he needs at-bats, and we need to do that without jeopardizing his health. He's got some back and neck things that he's had for years. It's now a matter of, I can rest him on a day game after a night game. To me it's a day-to-day thing. 'How do you feel? You ready to go? Yes? OK, you're in there.' We'll monitor that as we go."

Catcher Ryan Hanigan, who left Sunday's game after he was struck on the neck and collarbone by a foul ball, was given some rest on Tuesday. Speier expects Hanigan to return on Wednesday.

Left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who hasn't played since leaving last Wednesday's game with left groin tightness, remains day to day before returning.

Reds skip Leake, considering his playoff status

CINCINNATI -- As the Reds try to set their rotation for the playoffs, they made the decision to skip fifth starter Mike Leake this time around.

Leake was originally scheduled to start vs. the Brewers on Tuesday, but the club announced during Monday's off-day that ace Johnny Cueto was moved up to take the assignment. The move kept Cueto pitching on four days' rest, and he will be followed by Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey.

The next time Leake will start is on Saturday at Pittsburgh. As for his status on the postseason roster, the right-hander realizes he is on the bubble.

"I really don't know yet. They haven't said anything," Leake told MLB.com on Tuesday. "I can make assumptions, but they wouldn't be 100 percent accurate.

"I know I haven't deserved a spot to be one of the four [starters], but I feel I can still help."

Leake is 8-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts this season. Over 173 innings, he has allowed 197 hits and 38 walks with 113 strikeouts.

While the Reds haven't publicly discussed their playoff roster considerations, they could still elect to add Leake to the bullpen. It's a role he hasn't done well with in limited tries. Over 4 2/3 innings in five games, he has a 17.36 ERA (nine runs, 14 hits, two homers). He has not worked from the bullpen at all this season.

On the other hand, Leake is also the team's best-hitting pitcher, with a .288 average, and the staff's fastest baserunner. That versatility could help his cause.

"If they took me, I don't feel they'd necessarily use me as a hitter or to pinch-hit, but maybe to help bunt or baserun, or 14th-inning help," Leake said. "There's always that risk that someone gets hit or if a pitcher gets injured in the second inning and you need someone to mop up innings. You've got a lot of factors."

Speier has seed preference as Reds go for No. 1

CINCINNATI -- The Reds entered Tuesday one game behind the Nationals for the best record in baseball and the top seed in the National League postseason bracket.

Cincinnati will go for the No. 1 seed, but acting manager Chris Speier had his preferences heading into the NL Division Series vs. a yet-to-be known opponent.

"You know what seed I'd like to have? Me, I'd like to be three," Speier said. "I'd like to know that they're coming to me, and I've got two games at home. But that's not the scenario or anything that this team is about in regards to winning or losing games. We're going to play every game, and we're going to try to win every game. We're playing teams that are hot, that we don't want to face, and we're going to try to do what we can to knock everybody we play out."

In this year's NLDS format, the team with the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds host the first two games, while the top two seeds are home for the potential final three games.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.