© 2014 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

5/16/2014 9:28 P.M. ET

Pena gets start at first with Votto out

PHILADELPHIA -- Lacking an offensive threat at first base because Joey Votto remained in Cincinnati on Friday to have an MRI exam on his left knee, the Reds turned to backup catcher Brayan Pena to start in his place.

Pena made his first big league start at first base, but had played there four previous times. He also played 23 games there in the Minor Leagues, as well as in winter ball.

"I always carry my first baseman's glove, my third baseman's glove and my catching glove," Pena said. "I always go and help the guys during BP, but now it's not help. It's the real thing. I'm very happy the skipper gave me the opportunity to be in the lineup and continue to be playing."

The Reds don't know how long they will be without Votto, who was diagnosed after the MRI with a left distal quadriceps strain. The disabled list remained a possibility.

If there is a silver lining, Cincinnati can keep Pena's bat in the lineup even after getting Devin Mesoraco back. Mesoraco was activated on Friday from the DL after he suffered a strained left hamstring on April 25.

The switch-hitting Pena, 32, entered Friday batting .282 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

Manager Bryan Price noted that besides Pena, third baseman Todd Frazier or prospect Neftali Soto could get some time at first base too. As for playing an unfamiliar position, Pena wasn't concerned.

"It's not like I'm playing shortstop or second base," Pena said. "It's one of the things I just have to go and sit down with [coach Freddie] Benavides and see where he wants me to play the lefties and different positioning like that. I know I'm not a Joey Votto. I'm never going to be a Joey Votto, but I'm going to go out there and give my team my best."

Mesoraco returns to Reds lineup, homers in first AB

PHILADELPHIA -- Following a three-game Minor League rehab assignment, Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco was activated from the disabled list on Friday. Mesoraco, who played for Triple-A Louisville at Norfolk, arrived late in the afternoon to join the club at Citizens Bank Park.

To make room for Mesoraco, pitcher Jeff Francis was designated for assignment. Francis started Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader vs. the Padres and allowed three runs and five hits over five innings during a 6-1 loss.

Mesoraco strained his left hamstring trying to score a run on April 25 at Atlanta. In 13 games entering Friday, he was batting .468/.509/.787 with three home runs and 13 RBIs after he began the season on the DL because of a left oblique strain.

"It's great news. Devin was really on fire when he was active before the hamstring pull," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He was really a huge part of our offense, and we were kind of hitting on all cylinders when he was in there hitting seventh and doing some damage down in the lineup a little bit. We missed him in the lineup. We missed his presence on the ballclub. We're welcoming him back today with open arms."

Mesoraco didn't miss a beat, launching a three-run home run in his first at-bat against the Phillies.

Cingrani to return for finale vs. Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Reds announced on Friday that left-handed starter Tony Cingrani would be activated from the disabled list on Sunday to start the series finale vs. the Phillies.

Cingrani last pitched on April 30 before going on the DL the following day with mild left shoulder tendinitis after he showed diminished fastball velocity.

"Tony will start on Sunday, which will make it [Mike] Leake, [Johnny] Cueto and [Alfredo] Simon in Washington," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

In six starts, Cingrani is 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA over 32 1/3 innings pitched.

Farnsworth likely not headed to Cincy

PHILADELPHIA -- Veteran free agent relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth could be joining a new team on Saturday, but it won't be the Reds.

Sirius/XM MLB Network radio analyst Jim Duquette tweeted on Friday night that two sources told him that Farnsworth was finalizing a deal that would bring him either to the Reds or Phillies on a big league contract.

Two sources denied to MLB.com that Farnsworth would be headed to the Reds, with one of the sources also denying Philadelphia as a possible landing spot.

Farnsworth, 37, was 0-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 games for the Mets before he was outrighted from their roster on Wednesday.

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.