CHICAGO -- Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo was not in Wednesday's starting lineup. He was given a break for multiple reasons, but mainly with an eye toward at keeping his body fresh.
"We're playing 20 in a row," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "How I program these guys down the stretch is going to have something to do with how strong they are down the stretch. He's playing center field and leading off, and that's a lot of work.
"His hand has been bothering him. It's a good day for him not to hit."
Choo snapped a 0-for-16 skid with a single Sunday against the Padres and was 1-for-his-last-23 before hitting a two-run double in the 11th inning Tuesday to give the Reds a 6-4 win against the Cubs.
Chris Heisey led off and played center field for the first time this season. The nod might have normally gone to Derrick Robinson, but he was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Sunday to make room for Ryan Ludwick's activation from the disabled list.
"I asked him and have been watching him," Baker said of Heisey. "Without Robinson here, he's going to have to do it sometimes."
Reds don't dismiss idea of using Cueto in relief
CHICAGO -- With only 42 games remaining in the season, time will soon run out for the Reds to get ace Johnny Cueto and reliever Sean Marshall back from the disabled list.
Adding a lefty, like Marshall, to the bullpen would certainly provide a boost, but how about an additional right hander, like Cueto?
"It's something we haven't talked about," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. "It won't be until he starts to throw again and we're confident that he's coming back. I think there are still a lot of things we have to discuss in regards to Johnny and how we're going to use him if and when he comes back this year. Until he starts to throw and we're confident he will be able to get back on the mound and pitch, we really haven't talked about it yet."
Cueto, who has never pitched in relief in the Majors, has been on his third DL stint of the season since June 29 with a strained right lat, while Marshall went on the DL for the second time on May 24 with a left shoulder injury. Neither pitcher has resumed throwing programs as of yet, and with less than a month left in the Minor League seasons, rehab assignments will soon no longer be an option.
Price hasn't given up hope that both pitchers could be back this season to help the club.
"I'm optimistic, only because I'm an optimist," Price said. "Marshall is starting to get some distance from the last time he played catch. Certainly we know that Johnny has been out for a long time. It would depend on what our goals are with Johnny. If our goal was to get him back ready to start, it would be a longer process than maybe using him in September out of the bullpen periodically, and cautiously."
Hoover feels OK after lengthy outing in extras
CHICAGO -- Reds reliever J.J. Hoover pitched a career-high 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the win in Tuesday's 11-inning victory against the Cubs. Hoover had no qualms about being used again, if needed, on Wednesday.
"Yeah, I'm good," Hoover said. "I doubt they'll use me."
Hoover, who has the longest active scoreless innings streak among Major League relievers at 24 1/3 innings, was spotted by television cameras Tuesday night having his new burly beard groomed in the dugout by second baseman Brandon Phillips.
"I've had the razor go through it a few times, but I've been kind of lazy," Hoover said. "I think Brandon saw the camera on and just wanted to be Brandon."
Reds sign 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Medina
CHICAGO -- The Reds signed outfielder Reydel Medina, a Cuban defector. According to the Dominican Prospect League web site, Medina received a $400,000 bonus for signing and defected from Cuba in 2011.
Reds scouts have been watching the 20-year-old Medina play in the Dominican Republic.
"Our people did a good job getting many looks at him and project him to Major League average to above average on five tools," said Bill Bavasi, Reds vice president of scouting, player development and international operations.
Medina will come to the United States to play as soon as he receives his visa.