June 12, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) Center fielder Billy Hamilton is back in Cincinnati's lineup for Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs.

And according to Reds manager Bryan Price, second baseman and three-time All-Star Brandon Phillips may be ''a usable player off the bench.''

Hamilton, who missed three games with a sore left hand, is scheduled to bat ninth. He's hitting just .222, but leads the majors with 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

Phillips strained his groin sliding into second base in the first inning of Tuesday game against the Phillies. He left that game and has been day to day since.

Price said Phillips is progressing, but he planned to be conservative with the infielder's return. Phillips is batting .308 with three homers and 25 RBIs.

''He's good with BP, taking it a little more gingerly with the groundball, but definitely getting better every day,'' Price said. ''It's a tenuous injury.''

Price said Devin Mesoraco, an All-Star catcher last season, will discontinue a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville where he was playing left field - a position the Reds hoped would put less strain on a left hip injury.

''He's still sore,'' Price said. ''He's going to be going back to Cincinnati and spending some time doing rehab work there.''

Price added the Reds will reassess Mesoraco when they return from their road trip, which ends at Detroit next Wednesday.

The Reds played their first game without Zack Cozart in a 6-3 loss at Chicago on Thursday night after the shortstop was ruled out for the season with a torn tendon and two torn ligaments in his right knee. He was hurt trying to beat out a grounder Wednesday against Philadelphia.

Still out for Cincinnati is Marlon Byrd, who suffered a broken right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on June 2. Price expects him to ''be back at some point'' this season, but doesn't know when.

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