CINCINNATI -- Chris Heisey has been talking about how close he is to coming back from a strained right hamstring for more than a week. Finally, the 28-year-old left fielder has a definite plan in place.
Heisey will begin a rehab assignment on Friday in Louisville, where he hopes to put the nagging hamstring injury behind him. On the disabled list since April 29, Heisey attempted a Minor League rehab stint in May, but he agitated the same injury in just one inning of action.
"Hopefully it will go well," Heisey said. "I'm confident it will. I learned from last time. Looking back, I know I wasn't quite ready to go. I've had an extra week and a half this time, and that's going to be the difference."
Once he arrives in Louisville, Heisey said he will receive the same treatment as last time, but he feels much better this go-around. Although he couldn't say for sure how long he will remain with the Bats, he said it could be through next Tuesday, when the team plays its final game before heading out on a road trip.
"It's been over a month," Heisey said. "So it's good to get some at-bats and some time on the field under my belt."
Villarreal hit hard in first Major League start
CINCINNATI -- With Johnny Cueto scratched from Wednesday's game and hitting the disabled list for the second time this season, the Reds called up right-hander Pedro Villarreal to make his first Major League start against the Rockies at Great American Ball Park.
The night did not go as Villarreal had hoped, as he gave up six earned runs on 10 hits, including three homers, in just 3 2/3 innings on the way to a 12-4 loss.
"The young kid got roughed up tonight and was throwing some balls up in the zone and in the heart of the plate," manager Dusty Baker said. "You do that against guys that can hit, you're asking for trouble."
Villarreal was called up from Triple-A Louisville, where he is 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA this season. He's also allowed 67 hits and 13 home runs in 59 innings at Triple-A. Villarreal was informed of the move on Tuesday, and he said he felt good heading into Wednesday's appearance.
"It was my day to pitch down in Louisville," Villarreal said. "Nothing was really different. I did the exact same thing down there yesterday, and then came up today and did the exact same thing."
With Cueto on the 15-day DL, Baker and his staff will need to fill in at least one more start in the place of their ace. Before Wednesday's game, Baker said that decision would depend largely on how Villarreal performed against Colorado.
The 25-year-old right-hander did not put himself in a good position to stick with the team, and he gave all the credit to the Rockies, who hit six home runs on the night.
"Obviously, they're a good ballclub," he said. "And they showed it today."
Hannahan makes first start at second base
CINCINNATI -- For the first time in his Major League career, Reds infielder Jack Hannahan made the start at second base on Wednesday against the Rockies. With Brandon Phillips still not at 100 percent due to a left forearm contusion, manager Dusty Baker hinted that he might give Hannahan -- usually a third baseman -- a chance to play second earlier this week.
However, Wednesday might be the last time Hannahan plays second base for the Reds in the foreseeable future, as Phillips will be back in the starting lineup Friday against the Cardinals.
"[Phillips] could have maybe been ready today, but he's still a little sore, and I want him as close to normal as possible," Baker said. "He hadn't check-swung yet, he hadn't slid yet or dove on it. There's a lot of things he could do to make it continue to be sore."
In an emergency, Baker said he would use Phillips on Wednesday to get him back into the swing of things before National League Central leader St. Louis comes to town, but he wants his All-Star second baseman to be as close to normal as possible this weekend.
For Phillips, he can't get back on the field soon enough. Not used to sitting on the bench, he said he's been restless, resorting to hitting the snack table in the clubhouse.
"I'm eating up everything in there," Phillips said, joking.
Playing hurt has never been an issue for the 31-year-old Phillips, but he said it wasn't possible with the forearm injury that prevented him from being able to cleanly field ground balls. He had no problems in the field or in the batters' box before Wednesday's game, though, and he's more than ready to be back in the lineup.
"I don't want my timing to get off," said Phillips, who was batting .296 with 45 RBIs before the injury last Saturday. "I want to go back and just keep on producing like I've been producing all year. Hopefully, I can do that Friday."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.