Sunday’s decision to place Cincinnati Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan on the disabled list was not a surprise, but the cause for the move was.
Hanigan had been playing with a sore right thumb for a couple of weeks, but it was a strained left oblique that shelved him and prompted the recall of 37-year-old catcher Corky Miller from Triple-A Louisville.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said Hanigan suffered the oblique injury in the ninth inning Friday night, reaching for a high pitch from reliever Aroldis Chapman.
“We’ve just got to keep rolling regardless of how these things happen,” Baker said.
Devin Mesoraco started Saturday and Sunday and figures to get the bulk of the playing time while Hanigan heals.
“I always felt, and I still feel like I’m an everyday player,” said Mesoraco, who appeared in only six of the Reds’ first 17 games before Hanigan’s injury, and just 54 games last season.
“If that’s what comes of this, I’ll jump right in and take care of business,” Mesoraco added. “I’ve been working a lot harder. I’ve been more focused. It’s such a long season that you have to keep preparing, keeping getting ready for your opportunity to play.
“In baseball things happen,” he continued. “It’s such a long year, and not everybody is going to stay 100 percent healthy all year. That’s why it’s such a team game. At some point everybody is going to get an opportunity to help their team win, whether it’s your best player or your 25th man.”
In another roster move Sunday, the Reds transferred pitcher Nick Masset from the 15-day DL to the 60-day.
Cozart lucky: The Reds were relieved to find out Saturday night that x-rays on shortstop Zack Cozart were negative.
Cozart injured his right index and middle fingers while trying to bunt in the 13th inning of Saturday’s 3-2 victory. The pitch from Miami’s Steve Chisek pinched Cozart’s fingers against the bat, forcing him to leave the game.
“He’s a fortunate young man. Very fortunate,” Baker said. “I saw (former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop) Billy Russell shatter his finger on that same play. He tried to bunt a sinkerball or two and pinned his hand up against the bat. Billy’s finger is like this (crooked hook at the end) today. After that he was throwing sliders over to first base. It was serious. He couldn’t hit with the finger down on his bat anymore. Cozart’s very lucky.”
Baker said it will probably be “within a couple of days” before Cozart is ready to return to the lineup.
“He doesn’t feel the tip of his fingers, so that would make it very difficult to throw,” Baker said. “I might use him as a pinch-runner or something. I’m not going to use him to pinch-bunt, that’s for sure.”
Special K’s: With 14 strikeouts Sunday against Miami, Reds pitchers reached double digits for the fourth consecutive game, the first time they have accomplished that since May 23-27, 2008.
That streak included a 19-strikeout performance in an 18-inning game at San Diego on May 25.
Today’s game: The 10-game homestand continues with a 7:10 p.m. contest against the Chicago Cubs. Mike Leake (1-0) will take the mound after turning in one of the best performances of his career Wednesday against Philadelphia.
Leake allowed just three hits during seven scoreless innings while striking out seven and walking none. He also went 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple, RBI and three runs scored. He has not allowed a run in his last 11 1/3 innings.