CINCINNATI -- Ryan Ludwick knows he likely won't be playing for the Reds until sometime in August. But after tearing the labrum in his right shoulder in the first game of the season, the injured outfielder was excited to report he's ahead of schedule in his recovery.
"I feel no pain in my shoulder, and I'm probably taking 85 percent effort swings," Ludwick said. "I was thoroughly surprised because every other surgery I've had, those first initial movements, whether it was the knee or the hip, you feel it. I haven't felt anything, which is a nice surprise."
Ludwick recently resumed baseball activities after originally being told that wouldn't happen until the All-Star break. With that, Ludwick said he'll soon be able to start a rehab assignment with either Triple-A Louisville or Double-A Pensacola. Although he'd like to return to the Reds as soon as possible, he understands the club will want him to acclimate himself in the Minors.
"When you have that much time off, you've go to go," Ludwick said. "It'll probably be an extended one, too, 50 at-bats or so. It'll be like Spring Training in July."
Reds' finale against Giants washed out
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have been fortunate this season as far as weather goes. Once in April, Cincinnati had to finish a game against Philadelphia the day after it was postponed in the middle of the ninth, and then there was Monday's game against the Giants that was called after six innings because of rain.
Manager Dusty Baker was hoping that luck would continue Thursday, but that wasn't the case, as the series finale against the Giants was called off before it had a chance to start. The game was delayed for two hours and 21 minutes, and it has not been rescheduled yet.
With Thursday's scheduled starter Mike Leake entering the day with a 5-1 record and 1.31 ERA in his last nine starts, Baker wanted to avoid a rainout to keep the 25-year-old right-hander on his regular routine. Instead, he'll get an extra day's rest, as the rotation will simply be pushed backed one day.
"They're doing pretty good, all of them," Baker said. "It won't hurt them a day."
The biggest problem facing Baker and the Reds in regards to Thursday's rainout is finding a day to reschedule the game.
"We've been kicking it around and kicking it around," Baker said. "The possible dates aren't optimal. I mean, there are none. There's only one date where we're both off."
That off-day comes Aug. 29, between three-game sets in St. Louis and Colorado for the Reds. It's also their only break in a stretch of 33 games in 34 days. The off-day is also sandwiched between two road series for the Giants -- in Colorado and Arizona -- as they also play 33 games in 34 days.
With that, the most viable option to play the game would be Sept. 30, the day after the last game of the season.
"That's that unbalanced schedule," Baker said. "They only come one time. As luck would have it, it's the last day."
Thursday marked the seventh rainout in the 11-year history of Great American Ball Park, with the most recent one coming May 1 last season against the Cubs.
Fans have been advised to keep their tickets, as they will be good for the rescheduled game. The tickets can also be exchanged at face value for any Monday through Thursday regular-season game, excluding Aug. 6.
Reds plan to go with matchups in left field
CINCINNATI -- One day after Chris Heisey made his return to left field for the Reds and came through with two RBIs, including a solo home run, manager Dusty Baker held him out of the lineup announced for Thursday's game against right-handed Giants pitcher Matt Cain.
That will be a common theme for the time being, as Baker plans to use a platoon approach in left field.
"On a daily basis, I'm going to have to figure out who's the best guy offensively and defensively for who's pitching for us and who's pitching against us," Baker said.
With Wednesday's game going 11 innings, Baker said Heisey, who missed 52 games with a strained right hamstring, wasn't going to start Thursday's game anyway. Coming back from an injury, Baker said a player is most vulnerable to hurt himself again when he's fatigued.
But Baker was also playing the matchups. The right-handed Heisey came into Thursday with an 0-for-5 history against Cain. Xavier Paul hadn't done much better, going just 1-for-5, but Baker decided to go with the lefty.
Along with Paul and Donald Lutz, who was optioned when Heisey returned to the team on June 25, switch-hitter Derrick Robinson has been manning left field for the Reds. Although both Paul and Robinson have been scuffling as of late, Baker said Heisey won't be able to return and steal the full-time job in left too quickly.
"We'll break him in slowly." Baker said. "I told him, 'You just can't come in and take all the playing time away from the other guys.' It would have been different if he had been killing it when he left, but he actually looks better than when he left."
• Looking ahead to Seattle's visit to Cincinnati this weekend, Baker said he was excited to reconnect with Mariners bench coach Robby Thompson. From 1993-1996, Baker was Thompson's manager in San Francisco. The two joined forces again in 2000-2001, when Thompson took over as first-base coach under Baker.
"One of my favorite guys on my team," Baker said of Thompson, whom he described as his protege. "He'll be a fine manager one day. I'm looking forward to see him."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.