PITTSBURGH -- The Reds placed shortstop Orlando Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday because of a strained left oblique he suffered during a ninth-inning swing on Monday, one that turned into a double-play ball.
Juan Francisco was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to fill Cabrera's roster spot.
"I don't know," Reds manager Dusty Baker said when asked how long Cabrera would be out. "It has to be 15 days. That I don't know, I don't think anybody can answer that. That's a situation where I have seen guys come back in a period of time.
You just don't want him to try to rush and you end up re-injuring that thing and re-injuring it and re-injuring it. Because everything you do is related to your core unit, whether it's running, throwing, hitting, whatever."
Baker said Cabrera drove back to Cincinnati after the Reds' win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Monday and saw doctors on Tuesday.
Paul Janish batted second and started at short Tuesday against the Pirates, and he will likely remain there for as long as Cabrera is out.
"He's been very patient, he stays ready, he's been working hard," Baker said. "I told him a few weeks ago, 'Stay ready, because you never know what can happen.' And he trains hard, he works hard.
"And right now probably [Miguel] Cairo's my super utility man right now -- third, short, second, first. And we got Francisco probably [spelling] Scotty [Rolen] at third and trying to work out some at first base, too."
Cabrera was hitting .260 with 37 RBIs and 51 runs scored. Francisco hit .286 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs in 67 games at Louisville.
Baker said the Reds' training staff will treat Cabrera's injury aggressively, adding that he has been surprised by the number of oblique injuries he has seen recently.
"You can do it getting out of bed, lifting something, so he has to be careful here. You see, it's kind of something that -- it's not new -- but you're seeing it a lot more in baseball now than I saw before," Baker said. "You're seeing pitchers get it, hitters get it. I bet if you checked it out, I bet it's one of the top injuries in baseball. Why? I don't know. It's usually weird to get it this late in the season, too, I think. You usually get it early.
"I know it was something bad though. You see the look on his face, he was in pain, big-time. I could just tell by the look on his face. ... I hope he caught it before it got too late."
Heisey making most of his chances
PITTSBURGH -- Chris Heisey insists he treats starting and coming off the bench the same way.
"I feel like ever since I've been up here, I'm just trying to prove I belong, and when I get starts, it's the same thing as when I'm coming off the bench or going into the game defensively," Heisey said. "I'm just trying to one, help us win ballgames and two, prove I belong."
The Reds better hope he keeps that mindset.
Batting seventh and starting in center field Tuesday for the third straight game, Heisey went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a run scored in the Reds' 7-6 loss to the Pirates. Tuesday marked the most consecutive starts the rookie has made in a lineup without a designated hitter. He started in three straight games June 20-22 at Oakland and at Seattle.
The 25-year-old Heisey is hitting .423 in 39 games off the bench this season, while batting just .254 in 19 starts.
Drew Stubbs once struggled through a 1-for-36 slump, but Heisey has begun to leave his mark. He highlighted the club's offensive output in a 4-0 win over the Pirates on Monday, going 2-for-3 with a double and an inside-the-park home run.
Heisey is hitting .301 with seven home runs since his Major League debut on May 3, when he was promoted from Triple-A Louisville to replace the injured Chris Dickerson.
"We're in a performance game, and we've been spotting him against certain kind of pitchers that I thought he was most conducive to have success against," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I was talking to him, he was learning while he was here. He had an outstanding Double-A season last year and was doing fair at Triple-A, and he was here really out of necessity.
"He's made the most out of his opportunities and his chances. That's what the big leagues is all about, getting opportunities and chances and then maximizing the opportunities you get."
Votto still out with wrist sprain
PITTSBURGH -- Joey Votto was not in the Reds' lineup against the Pirates for the second straight night on Tuesday because of a right wrist sprain.
Miguel Cairo started at first and batted third in Votto's place for the second straight night.
Votto entered the game in the eighth to pinch-hit for Paul Janish and was intentionally walked by Pirates reliever Evan Meek.
"Joey's feeling better, feeling a lot better," Reds manager Dusty Baker said, "Had it been down the stretch in September, he probably would have played. But the experience of having hand problems, another day would help him, and then he'll play [Wednesday] and then he'll be off on Thursday, which will help him for the weekend."
The Reds have an off-day Thursday before traveling to Chicago for a three-game weekend series with the Cubs.
Baker already thinking about Cardinals
PITTSBURGH -- At one point before Tuesday's game against the Pirates, Reds manager Dusty Baker's pregame session with the media shifted to next week's big three-game series with the NL Central rival Cardinals.
The Reds entered Tuesday's action a half-game ahead of the Cardinals for the division lead.
While Baker cautioned about looking too far ahead, the well-traveled skipper acknowledged the joy he takes in talking about playoff races this late in the year, especially since the Reds have not made the postseason since 1995.
"It's fun because it's been a four-year drought for me," said Baker, who made the playoffs as a manager most recently in 2002 and '03 with the Giants and Cubs, respectively. "I wasn't used to that. This has been a torturous four years here -- the last two years in Chicago and the first two years here. Especially last year, I thought we had a chance to be there until we lost Joey [Votto] and [Jay] Bruce and [Edinson] Volquez and [Ramon] Hernandez."
Baker said he became accustomed to postseason play in the past, but he is not taking it for granted this time around.
"I think it's great for the city, it's great for the organization," Baker said. "This is why I came here, for this point and purpose. It's great to see the stands packed. It's great to see the electricity everywhere. It's great to see people in red and white all over town. That's how it used to be. I used to get psyched out. By the time I got to the stadium, I was like, 'Whoa.' I was tired of seeing red.
It's nice to have people still talking about baseball. I'm a football fan, but football has a long season ahead of them."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Monday's 4-0 win over Pittsburgh was the first game in Major League history in which a rookie starting pitcher and two 40-something-year-old relievers combined for a shutout. Travis Wood, a 23-year-old rookie, tossed seven scoreless innings before 41-year-old Russ Springer and 40-year-old Arthur Rhodes shut down the Pirates in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. ... The Reds entered Tuesday 13 games over .500 (60-47) for the first time since they finished the 1999 season 29 games over (96-67). ... Reds pitchers have posted a 2.98 team ERA since June 17, tops in the National League and second in the Majors -- behind the White Sox -- during that span. Over their last three games, Reds pitchers are 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA -- one earned run in 27 innings pitched.
Matt Fortuna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.