9/16/2013 8:05 P.M. ET
Baker prepares for first meeting with Astros
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The Astros might be the owners of baseball's worst record, but Reds manager Dusty Baker was busy cramming. With binders of scouting reports on his desk Monday afternoon, Baker was learning about his opponent. Then there was the added wrinkle that Houston, a former National League Central rival the Reds once met for 15-18 games per season, is now in its first season as an American League club.
"I have a lot of work to do on these Astros," Baker said. "We haven't seen them. We don't know them. They have a whole different team than they had before. September is a lot of work, but against these guys, we haven't been here since last September. I've been coming here for 43 years. This is weird for me."
The Reds were 10-5 in last year's season series with the NL version of the Astros, and 41-20 over the past four seasons.
Marshall aims to prove himself after activation from DL
HOUSTON -- It's a day that's been a long time coming for Reds left-handed reliever Sean Marshall: activation.
"It's a nice word," Marshall said.
The Reds on Monday activated Marshall, and starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, from the 60-day disabled list. Marshall had been out since May 24 with a sprained left shoulder, and he suffered a bout of tendinitis in July during his rehab effort.
"It's been a long time," Marshall said. "I'm very excited and I feel good. I look forward to getting into some games here and helping us win some games."
The Reds gave Marshall the option of going to Arizona to face prospects in instructional league games, but that would have added a lengthy plane ride west and a lesser caliber of hitters to face.
"I told them I thought I was ready," Marshall said. "I felt really good after my last live BP session. I felt like I could compete against some hitters in the game. They gave me the green light. I was thankful they did."
Marshall is a veteran and was a key setup man before his injury. Months of no games pitched and the presence of two lefties in Manny Parra and Zach Duke means his status is a little different, according to manager Dusty Baker.
"Right now, he's the third lefty," Baker said.
After Monday, the Reds will have only 11 games remaining and little time for Marshall to show on the mound that he could be ready for inclusion on a postseason roster. He said he is ready to prove himself.
"I've been out since the end of May. Hopefully I won't be rusty when I get out there," Marshall said. "If I am, I will work my butt off to shake it off. We've had some guys pitch extremely well, guys that have stepped up big -- not only left-handers, but our right-handers like Sammy [LeCure] and [Alfredo] Simon have done a great job filling some voids."
The notion of returning on the same day as Cueto felt right to Marshall. Cueto, who went on the DL for the third time this season on June 29 because of a strained right lat muscle, was Marshall's rehab partner at the Beacon Orthopaedic facility.
"We've been going through this whole process together," Marshall said. "We were pushing each other. I'm real excited he's pitching today. He's worked extremely hard in trying to get back as soon as he could."
Baker was pleased to have two key members of his pitching staff back at his disposal.
"It's progress, big time," Baker said. "I'm just hoping that we can win some games and get them prepared to make a decision in a couple of weeks. And they can contribute while they're here. We haven't won anything yet. We've got to put some wins together."
To make room on the 40-man roster for Marshall and Cueto, right-handed pitchers Josh Ravin and Kyle Lotzkar were designated for assignment.
Reds plan for Hispanic Heritage Night
HOUSTON -- As part of Major League Baseball's efforts to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, the Reds will be holding Hispanic Heritage Night during the Sept. 27 game vs. the Pirates.
Among the festivities planned are dancers in the fan zone and Crosley Terrace -- where flags from 22 countries that have Spanish as their main language will be flying -- as gates open. The band Azucar Tumbao will play in the fan zone. Students from the Academy of Multilingual Studies will be arriving on buses provided by Reds players and holding the 22 flags on the field before the game. The students will have tickets and food for the game from the "Amigos de los Rojos" program sponsored by Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon.
Anthony Simms-Howell will receive the Community Advocate award, which recognizes business representatives, community leaders and civil servants in our community who advocate connection and inclusion. Howell is a longtime supporter of the Reds Community Fund and an advocate for Latin Americans in the region. The governor's office will be sending certificates honoring the Reds' Latin players and managers for their work in the community which will be presented on-field.
• Two walks on Sunday at Milwaukee gave Shin-Soo Choo 101 walks for the season. Choo and Joey Votto, who entered the day with 119 walks, are the only NL players to have more than 100 walks this season. It's the fourth time the Reds have ever had teammates with at least 100 walks in a season and the first since Pete Rose and Joe Morgan in 1974.