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Reds activate Hernandez, reach Isringhausen deal

- Associated Press - Thursday, July 22, 2010

CINCINNATI (AP) - The Reds rearranged their catchers on Thursday, gave third baseman Scott Rolen more time to get over a hamstring injury, and provided right-handed reliever Jason Isringhausen with a chance to continue his comeback from elbow surgery in the minors.

Catcher Ramon Hernandez came off the 15-day disabled list and started at first base for the final game of a series against the Washington Nationals, allowing Joey Votto to get a day of rest. Hernandez had been sidelined since July 9 with an inflamed left knee.

Catcher Corky Miller was sent to Triple-A Louisville to open a spot. Miller has been an important backup, filling in while No. 2 catcher Ryan Hanigan recovered from a broken left thumb in June, then when Hernandez got hurt.

Miller batted .246 with one homer and seven RBIs, starting 18 games. The 34-year-old catcher cleared waivers and was sent outright to the minors.

"He's played well," manager Dusty Baker said. "He's valuable to our organization and to us, and he'll be back at some point in time _ any injury or if not, then in September. He's learning. He's become a much better hitter. A lot of times you don't think that can happen at that age, but you see it happening for him."

The Reds decided against putting Rolen on the disabled list for now. He felt burning in his right hamstring while tagging up during a game last Friday. He got a cortisone shot and is working out.

The Reds are willing to play short-handed rather than put him on the 15-day disabled list. The Reds are 45-31 when he's in the starting lineup. He'll accompany the team on a six-game trip that begins Friday in Houston.

"He's doing more every day," Baker said. "We're just hoping he gets better to the point where we can get by and win games like we are right now without having to put him on the DL."

Like Rolen, Isringhausen played for general manager Walt Jocketty in St. Louis. He had elbow surgery in September 2008 with the Cardinals, then signed with Tampa Bay. He had to have the elbow rebuilt last June, leaving him with 293 career saves.

A free agent, Isringhausen has been working out and hoping some team would give him a chance to make a comeback. He threw in the bullpen for the Reds this week, impressing them enough to offer a minor league deal. He accepted it on Thursday and will report to Triple-A Louisville.

Baker watched him throw on Tuesday.

"I think he did very well," Baker said. "I was very pleasantly surprised."

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