CINCINNATI -- The Reds optioned long reliever Micah Owings to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday and recalled reliever Carlos Fisher from the same place.Owings was used sparingly this season while posting a 5.40 ERA in 22 appearances. His two-thirds of an inning vs. Washington on Tuesday, where he allowed four runs, was his first action in 16 days. The plan is to have the right-hander start in Louisville. "Micah needs some innings," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's not his fault or anybody's fault. Our starters have been going so deep. There wasn't really a need the last two weeks for a long man. And you have to hold him back for those close games and extra innings. I remember [former GM] Bob Quinn told me years ago that pitchers rust out before they wear out. That's a prime example of that." Fisher is in his second big league stint this season after he posted a 10.80 ERA in 12 games for the Reds from April 22-May 31. He has a 1.86 ERA in 23 games at Louisville, including a 2.57 ERA in 17 games since his demotion.
Isringhausen near Minors deal with Reds
CINCINNATI -- Once the results of the physical are known and some I's and T's are dotted and crossed, reliever Jason Isringhausen will sign a Minor League deal with the Reds."I think we'll get it done in the next day or so," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Wednesday. Isringhausen, 37, auditioned for the club on Tuesday afternoon. The Reds, who are not impressed with the trade market for relievers, liked what they saw enough to believe he might be able to help their bullpen this season. The right-hander will need a few weeks in the Minors to get himself big league ready. Jocketty is quite familiar with Isringhausen, who pitched for him with the Cardinals from 2002-08. In St. Louis, he notched 217 saves with a 2.98 ERA. Isringhausen would be the second former Cardinals reliever signed in the last week. Russ Springer, 41, signed a Minor League contract last Thursday and is at Triple-A Louisville, having tossed two scoreless innings in two appearances.
Hernandez expected to play first Thursday
CINCINNATI -- The Reds' Opening Day catchers are expected to finally be on the active roster together again on Thursday.
Manager Dusty Baker said he expects Ramon Hernandez to return from a sore knee for Thursday's series finale with Washington. Hernandez was eligible to come back Tuesday, but the Reds have been patient with him to not risk rushing him back.
Baker expects to ease Hernandez into the lineup Thursday by playing him at first base to give Joey Votto a much-needed day off. Baker said Hernandez will probably start at catcher Saturday in Houston, with Ryan Hanigan catching Friday.
"I'm feeling ready to play, and I feel good right now," Hernandez said. "I've been working a couple days, and I feel very good the next day, so there are no problems at all."
Hernandez last played July 4 at the Cubs, and Hanigan was activated from the disabled list to replace him. The two haven't been on the active roster at the same time since late May.
Bailey encouraged by simulated game
CINCINNATI -- In his latest progression from a right shoulder injury, Reds starter Homer Bailey threw three innings Wednesday during a simulated game.
Watching from behind the cage were general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker. Pitching coach Bryan Price was behind Bailey and a protective screen while the pitcher faced Corky Miller, Paul Janish and Laynce Nix.Bailey estimated that he threw between 45-50 pitches. "It went pretty good," said Bailey, who hasn't pitched for the Reds since May 23 because of shoulder inflammation. "My curveball, split and fastball were pretty good. The slider was a little off. It's kind of always the last one to come for me." The next step for Bailey, assuming he feels no pain or setbacks, is to make a Minor League rehab start on Monday for Class A Dayton. "His command was above average, not quite where he wanted," Baker said. "His breaking ball was good. His arm speed was very good."
Back spasms subsiding for Harang
CINCINNATI -- Wednesday was a "really good day" for Aaron Harang, who is finally starting to get some relief from lower back spasms that have sidelined him all month, and he may begin throwing again in the next few days.
Harang -- who last pitched June 30 -- said he went to the chiropractor Wednesday and got an adjustment that paid off.
"We're starting to get it calmed down," Harang said. "Standing around at the Hall of Fame thing the other night, my back didn't like me too much for that. A little stiff the other day, then yesterday I was able to get a good adjustment and this morning a good adjustment."
Harang said he wasn't sure what his pitching schedule would be or if there would be a rehab assignment, and he'll have to discuss it with the trainers and coaching staff. He last threw during the All-Star break, and because of some discomfort, he decided to shut things down temporarily.
"I felt like I was making compensations to get through the bullpen," Harang said. "I talked to these guys and said, 'Look, I can't be throwing and making compensations because then I'm going to hurt something else, so I'm going to shut it down.' They felt the same way."
Harang said he has been going to the chiropractor almost daily. Although he hasn't pitched since last week, he said he walked on a treadmill and used an elliptical without discomfort. He said they wanted to wait to start a throwing program until he went a couple days without pain.
"I don't wish back pain on anybody," Harang said. "I'd rather something else hurt than my back. It literally puts you completely out of commission, you can't do anything."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.