Hanigan back in lineup after missing four games

Hanigan went on the disabled list in April with a strained left oblique, and he also battled a sore thumb early in the season. He missed one game in Oakland and all three games in Texas after rolling his ankle.

“It’s just been a grind with the body,” Hanigan said, “but I’m feeling better. The rest was nice. I made some progress on the ankle. I’m ready to go. I’ll see how it goes.”

Hanigan didn’t think it was a bad injury when it occurred, but he didn’t take any time off at first and the ankle didn’t get any better. He felt bad that Devin Mesoraco, who went 4-for-23 on the 2-6 road trip but did hit the game-winning home run against the Rangers on Saturday, had to play all three games in the Texas heat.

“I was trying to play through it,” Hanigan said. “It kept getting worse with the squatting. I expect to get beat up, but not to the point where I’m missing time. I’m used to playing through stuff. It’s just been frustrating, but we’ve got a lot of year left. We’ve got to make a push here.”

Heisey’s return: Left-fielder Chris Heisey came off the DL on Tuesday when the Reds were in Oakland and made two starts on the road trip and appeared in two other games. He was 2-for-8 with two doubles.

Heisey doesn’t know how often he’ll be starting going forward — Derrick Robinson was in the lineup Monday — but the strained right hamstring that kept him on the DL for almost two months feels good.

“I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have any apprehension about going out there and completely letting loose,” Heisey said. “But two nights ago, I had a double, and I came out of the box and got to second base and didn’t think about it. I had no pain or soreness after the game. That was big for me.”

Struggling teams: With the Giants in town for four games, the Reds had to have a few flashbacks to last October when they blew a 2-0 lead in the National League Division Series with three straight losses at Great American Ball Park.

Reds manager Dusty Baker said that wasn’t any extra motivation for his team. The Giants (39-42) and Reds (46-36) had combined to win five of their previous 20 games.

“It’s two teams struggling,” Baker said. “One thing’s for sure, someone is going to come out of it. It might as well be us. We realize they can break out anytime. We can break out anytime.”

Baker on Cueto: Johnny Cueto is on the DL for the third time this season because of continuing problems with his right lat muscle. Baker was never on the DL in his career, but sympathizes with Cueto.

“I know he’s going crazy because he’s worked hard,” Baker said. “It’s really difficult for it to be the same thing every time. We know what the problem is. Now we’ve got to come up with the solution. We’ve got the best people on the job to come up with the solution.”

Tonight’s game: Homer Bailey (4-6, 3.88) takes the mound for the Reds tonight against Tim Lincecum (4-8, 4.64). The Reds lost four of the five games Bailey started in June and were shut out in two of those games.

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