CINCINNATI -- Especially with the way the bullpen needed to be used through the first two games of the season, Reds lefty reliever Sean Marshall has been conspicuous in his absence from the mound.
It turns out that Marshall wasn't available for either game, and he wasn't available for Thursday's series finale vs. the Angels.
"Spring Training was so long. I think I peaked a little early," Marshall said Thursday morning. "I was getting a little bit of fatigue in my shoulder. It's just precautionary. They have me doing some therapy and getting it strong again. I'm probably a day or two away. I'll probably be ready by Friday night's game."
Marshall was last used in a big league Spring Training game on March 22. Had the club placed him on the 15-day disabled list, he wouldn't have missed much regular-season time. But the DL is no longer a concern.
During Monday's 13-inning loss, Marshall got up briefly to warm up and threw at about 75 percent intensity. He has thrown in other bullpen sessions on the side and has taken it easy to prevent a setback.
"I've made good progress," Marshall said. "Guys have stepped up, big time. We've got a very capable bullpen. All of those guys can get any guys out in mostly any inning. They told me they would pick me up while I was down, and hopefully I can pick them up sometime during the season when maybe they're hanging a little bit."
Heisey back in lineup after taking ball off nose
CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Chris Heisey didn't have his nose too out of joint, literally, a day after being whacked on the face by a thrown ball.
While stealing second base in the fifth inning of Wednesday's 5-4 victory over the Angels, Heisey was hit on the nose by the throw from catcher Chris Iannetta. He needed a couple of moments to collect himself before staying in the game.
"I was feeling good today," Heisey said on Thursday, as he was back in the starting lineup. "It's a little sore. I took some Advil, and it's good enough."
Heisey learned a lesson from the experience. He'll never turn his head toward the catcher when sliding into second base.
"What was I doing looking back at the ball while I was sliding?" Heisey wondered aloud after the game on Wednesday. "That's one of the dumbest things I've done in a long time."
Reds join exclusive list with 20,000th game
CINCINNATI -- Thursday's series finale against the Angels marked the 20,000th game in the franchise history of the Reds. Cincinnati had the first professional baseball team, founded in 1869, but did not join the Major Leagues officially until 1882 -- when it played in the American Association.
Known then as the Red Stockings, the club took the field for the first time on May 1, 1882, vs. the Pirates.
The starting rotation during that first 80-game season consisted of only two pitchers -- Will White and Harry McCormick. White had a record of 40-12.
The Braves and Cubs are the only two other clubs that have already surpassed 20,000 games in their histories.
Baker consistent in warning against headfirst slide
CINCINNATI -- Even before left fielder Ryan Ludwick suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder Monday while sliding headfirst into third base, manager Dusty Baker was never a fan of that style of slide.
"Most guys don't know how to headfirst slide. I was told years ago to never headfirst slide into home plate," Baker said on Thursday. "I was told Johnny Bench, Jerry Grote and Randy Hundley would hurt you. There are a lot of things that can go wrong -- shoulders, wrists, elbows, fingers, everything. Everybody is not Rickey Henderson or Pete Rose."
During Spring Training, Baker warned his players not to slide headfirst into any base. That included Joey Votto, who did it several times during spring games.
"Sometimes it's a sad lesson," Baker said. "It happens. You hate to say what's coming and then, 'I told you so.' Sometimes, it's a natural thing. You just do it."
Reds not skipping Leake first time through rotation
CINCINNATI -- The Reds had their usual day after Opening Day off on Tuesday but still decided to use all five starters the first time through the rotation rather than skip fifth starter Mike Leake. Skipping Leake would have kept ace Johnny Cueto on his regular four days of rest.
Last season, the Reds never skipped Leake, and no one in the rotation missed a start. However, manager Dusty Baker wouldn't commit to doing the same thing this season around scheduled off-days to keep the other four on turn.
"It's impossible to say what's going to happen," Baker said Thursday. "You make the best of plans, but rarely can you use the plans you make. We have to deal with situations as they come, much like life."