AP Baseball Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Reds activated catcher Ryan Hanigan off the disabled list for the start of a series on Friday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, getting them a little closer to full-strength.
Hanigan went on the 15-day disabled list on April 21 with a strained left oblique. He played three games on a medical rehabilitation assignment this week, going 3 for 8 with Triple-A Louisville.
The pulled muscle in his side wasn't his only injury. Hanigan has been bothered by a sore thumb on his left hand most of the season. He batted only .079 in 12 games before the injury, going 3 for 38 with no homers and two RBIs. The two weeks off also allowed him to regain his strength in the thumb.
"I think it healed up pretty good," Hanigan said. "It's never going to be 100 percent, but I didn't have any strength for a while. Having that back is important."
Hanigan is Cincinnati's best defensive catcher, throwing out 75 percent of runners trying to steal this season.
"We've got to get him back to where he was before," manager Dusty Baker said. "He shuts down the running game."
The Reds designated catcher Corky Miller for assignment to open a spot. Miller batted .125 in six games with no homers or RBIs.
The Reds still have five players on the disabled list, including left fielders Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey and top starter Johnny Cueto. Cueto made his first rehab start on Thursday night for Class A Dayton, allowing four hits and one run in three innings without problem. He's expected to make at least one more start before being activated.
Ludwick, the Reds' cleanup hitter, tore cartilage in his right shoulder while diving into base in the season opener and is expected to miss at least half the season. Heisey took over and pulled his right hamstring, going on the disabled list April 29. Heisey is expected to start a rehab assignment soon.
Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.