MILWAUKEE -- Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez was happy that his fractured right thumb is making continued progress and that he could join the club on its road trip this week.Suarez has started some baseball activity. He's able to take ground balls, swing with just his left hand and do
MILWAUKEE -- Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez was happy that his fractured right thumb is making continued progress and that he could join the club on its road trip this week.
Suarez has started some baseball activity. He's able to take ground balls, swing with just his left hand and do his running.
"I don't throw. I just take the ground balls and put them on the side," Suarez said on Tuesday. "I try to grip the bat to see how it feels, but no swings or throwing yet. I will grab the ball and bat and see how much I can squeeze. That's all we're doing right now."
Suarez, who was hit by a pitch on the hand April 8 at Pittsburgh and went on the 10-day disabled list the following day, was unable to squeeze anything with his right thumb last week.
"I feel way, way better," he said. "It's a big difference from last week. It was terrible. I couldn't do anything with my right hand."
There is no timetable yet on when Suarez could start swinging the bat or throwing. After he was injured, it was expected that he could miss up to a month.
Schebler close to activation
After his rehab assignment was relocated to Double-A Pensacola on Monday, right fielder Scott Schebler (right ulnar nerve) went 1-for-3 with a double and run scored against Mississippi. Schebler, who played six innings in the game, was slated to play nine innings Tuesday.
"Then we'll see if we want to try to get him [back] for tomorrow's game," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Certainly by [Wednesday] or the first day in St. Louis [Friday]. I don't think he's going to need more [rehab] games than that."
Hernandez and Shackelford updates
Reliever David Hernandez (right shoulder inflammation) threw 25 pitches to Alex Blandino and Cliff Pennington in a simulated game Tuesday. Now the club will wait until Wednesday to see how Hernandez's arm recovers.
"He did great," Price said. "He threw his whole arsenal: fastball, breaking ball, change. He came out of it feeling really good. We're excited that his shoulder feels that good. [Wednesday] will be a big day when he goes out and plays catch. We'll see how he rebounds."
Kevin Shackelford (right forearm strain) made his second rehab appearance for Pensacola on Tuesday and pitched another scoreless inning on 12 pitches. Shackelford walked one and struck out one.
Ervin's shaky defense
With Jesse Winker and Schebler having been out with injuries lately, fifth outfielder Phillip Ervin has been getting more playing time in right field. But it hasn't always looked great defensively for Ervin.
In the fifth inning of Monday's 10-4 victory, Ervin misplayed a line-drive single off the bat of Orlando Arcia, then compounded the mistake with a poor throw to the infield that put runners on second and third with one out. Pitcher Luis Castillo was able to work out of the jam, however.
In an April 13 loss to the Cardinals, Ervin made a first-inning error that led to a run and took a casual approach to a fly ball in the seventh that landed and went for a two-run double.
"It's more out of character from what we've seen from him historically," Price said. "I would just say it's a little spate of miscues that I think we should anticipate will certainly get better."
Winker was back in the lineup Tuesday. Ervin was Cincinnati's first-round pick in the 2013 Draft and debuted last season in the big leagues.
"His corner-outfield defense has always been considered to be above average," Price said. "The question has been could he play center field. It's a different animal when they add the third tier, as they say. It doesn't mean anything other than he's in this environment for the first time at the start of a season. He's always defended well. He made a couple of great plays in Pittsburgh, one going up against the wall in right field. The skill set is there."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.