Catcher Ryan Hanigan was watching the Reds game on TV from home when his backup, Devin Mesoraco, hit the game-tying home run in the ninth against the Braves on Tuesday.
Until that point, it had kind of been a “bummer game,” Hanigan said. Seconds later, as everyone was processing Mesoraco’s heroics, Shin-Soo Choo homered to win it and Hanigan watched his teammates jump around home plate like little kids who just knew they were going to get ice cream after the game.
“I was kind of jealous I wasn’t there to celebrate,” Hanigan said, “but it was a big win for us.”
There’s a good chance Hanigan won’t miss the next walk-off win. He was activated off the 15-day disabled list before Friday’s game against the Brewers and put in the starting lineup, and the Reds designated Corky Miller for assignment.
Hanigan went on the DL April 21 because of a strained left oblique, and he’s also been battling a sore thumb.
“It’s nice to be fresh and healthy,” Hanigan said. “This game’s tough enough as it is. I’m excited to help the team any way I can and hope to get on a roll with the team and get the ball rolling in the right direction.”
Hanigan was hitting .079 in 38 at-bats with no extra-base hits.
“The thumb’s healed up pretty good,” he said. “It’s not going to be 100 percent unless I have a lot of time to rest. It’s not a hindrance right now. The strength’s there. That’s what I didn’t have for a while. It was real sore. Little bumps and bruises aren’t going to be a big deal as long as the function of the hand is working. The oblique is feeling good, too. It’s a good combination of rest and rehab.”
Manager Dusty Baker hopes Hanigan’s able to start the year over and forget the first 12 games he played.
“We need him back because (the Brewers) run a lot, and Hanigan shuts down the running game,” Baker said. “He’s a lot better than (he was in April). There’s nothing you can do about yesterday. You can’t bring it back.”
Hanigan appreciated the effort Mesoraco and Miller made in his absence.
“I love both those guys,” he said. “It’s obviously sad to see Corky go, but he really helped the team while he was here, and I know the other guys liked having him around.”
Cueto update: Dusty Baker hadn’t gotten the report on Johnny Cueto’s rehab appearance Thursday in Dayton — at least not by 4 p.m. on Friday. He asked the writers interviewing him what they had seen.
“How’d he look?” he asked.
“Good,” said the Hall of Famer Hal McCoy, who watched Thursday’s game from the stands. “Fifty pitches, 37 strikes.”
“That don’t shock me,” Baker said. “Johnny’s a strike machine if he wants to be.”
Starters slumping: The Reds’ starting pitchers had not produced a quality start in the last seven games before Friday. They had 20 quality starts in the first 28 games.
The starters still have the seventh-best ERA in baseball (3.46) and rank third in innings pitched (215.2) and fifth in strikeouts (189).
Heisey update: Baker said he hopes to have outfielder Chris Heisey back by the time the team travels to Philadelphia for a three-game series next Friday. He’s been on the DL since April 29 with a strained right hamstring.