05/11/2013 5:07 PM ET
Lutz takes advantage of big league time with Heisey out
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- When Donald Lutz arrived in the big leagues at the end of April to replace the injured Chris Heisey, Reds manager Dusty Baker was "disappointed" the 24-year-old outfielder hadn't shown more with Double-A Pensacola. Since then, Lutz has done his best to make up for any Minor League struggles.
After going hitless in his first three games in the Majors, which included two pinch-hit appearances, Lutz carried a five-game hitting streak into Saturday's game against the Brewers. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Lutz singled, stole second and scored in the fourth inning of Friday's 4-3 win, showing off his wide range of skills.
"He's aggressive," Baker said. "He runs a whole lot better than it appears he should run for the size of his body. He's going to be a good one. It's just a matter of him going to play."
Lutz, who was born in Watertown, N.Y., but moved to Germany when he was 1 year old, is the first German-developed player to play in the Major Leagues. He hasn't played as much baseball as a typical prospect, and Baker said "he had gotten out of whack." Now, Baker believes the Reds "got him straight," and although Lutz's return to the minors is almost inevitable, his time hasn't been wasted.
"Huge benefit -- for him and for us," Baker said. "He's going to have to go back eventually. Hopefully he goes back, and he'll go back with the fact he knows he's had some success here."
Hanigan passes pair of tests back behind plate
CINCINNATI -- Ryan Hanigan wasted no time Friday testing the strained left oblique that played a major part in his stint on the 15-day disabled list that began April 21.
Two batters into his first game back behind the plate for the Reds, Hanigan dove to catch a foul ball off the bat of Brewers shortstop Jean Segura. Fully extended, he made the play and stood up without any ill-effects.
"It was within my reach, apparently," Hanigan joked. "It was a fun play to get back in there the first game and have a play like that right out of the gate."
Manager Dusty Baker said he wasn't concerned when he saw the 32-year-old catcher lay out to make a play so quickly after returning from injury. Considering Hanigan's "full-speed, full-throttle" style, Baker said Friday night that he and his staff had to be careful in bringing Hanigan back, because plays like that are bound to happen.
"Most of the time off the DL, you're going to do something that's going to test you," Baker said. "That's the only way Hani knows how to play and that's why we wanted to make sure he was healthy when he got back."
Hanigan's stint on the DL was also in part due to a sore right thumb, but that too proved to be a non-issue Friday, as he notched a hard-hit single in his first trip to the plate. Baker said Hanigan was able to get on top of an 89-mph slider from Yovani Gallardo, and that's something he couldn't do when the thumb was bothering him.
Devin Mesoraco was behind the plate for the Reds on Saturday, but Hanigan said he believes the oblique and thumb injuries are behind him after Friday's game.
"Good start [to] get things going in the right direction," Hanigan said. "I feel better, so I think I'm going to have more of a chance now, and it's a lot more confident swing when you're not distracted by pain and stuff like that."
"Los Rojos" helps recognize baseball's diversity
CINCINNATI -- The Reds' jerseys on Saturday looked a bit different than usual, as the team wore tops with "Los Rojos" on them for the first time in club history.
The uniforms, which are for sale in the Team Shop, are part of the Dusty Days celebration, which helps recognize the different cultures present in the Cincinnati area. Such events are held throughout baseball every year, and Venezuelan-born Cesar Izturis said it's appreciated by the players who make the game so culturally diverse.
"I appreciate it everywhere I've been," Izturis said. "Baseball is so big all over the world. It's one day for them, and they support this game, too. It's great for baseball."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.