CHICAGO -- After starting out 3-for-26 over the first seven games of the Reds' 10-game road trip, center fielder and leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo put a good game together in Friday's 6-5 win over the Cubs, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single, a double and two runs scored.
Choo followed that up by leading off Saturday's game against the Cubs with a home run.
Choo, who came into Saturday having reached safely in 27 of his 29 games, had been going through his first hitting slump of the season.
"It was a tough road trip in the four games in Washington and three games in St. Louis. I only had a couple of hits," Choo said. "Baseball is a long season, 162 games. A couple of times, it will happen. Good players on good teams [separate from] bad players on bad teams in how quickly they come out of slumps. I worried about it. I thought about it. I tried to think positive. I didn't have many strikeouts. The good thing was to have contact."
Choo is playing at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2008 with the Indians as the right fielder. Adjusting to a new position, Choo realized the old ballpark has several quirks. On Friday, that included flocks of seagulls that descended on the outfield grass.
"There are the birds and the wall is concrete. That's different," Choo said. "I just checked everything before the start of the game. But the only difference is the wall isn't padded. At game time, you just play. You don't think about it or worry about it."
Hanigan to begin rehab assignment next week
CHICAGO -- Injured Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan is expected to go on a Minor League rehab assignment sometime next week.
Hanigan has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 21 with a strained left oblique and sore right thumb. He will be examined by medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek on Monday.
"They have to clear me on Monday. Doc is going to check me out when we get back," Hanigan said Saturday morning.
It is not yet known where Hanigan will go upon being cleared to play in the Minors. He has been pleased with his progress since he started increasing his workout intensity on the field last Tuesday.
"I've been hitting and throwing, getting the strength back," Hanigan said. "The oblique feels pretty good and the thumb is still healing, but feels pretty good. I've got the strength back, which is the most important thing. I didn't have any strength in it for a while."
Hanigan, who is batting .079 (3-for-38) in 12 games, was given a cortisone shot last week for the oblique. As for the thumb, Reds manager Dusty Baker wants to make sure Hanigan takes things slowly.
"I've had that injury too, big time," Baker said. "That's why I want to take my time with it. When he comes back, you don't want him struggling like when he left. It's not good for him and it wasn't good for us. Hani is a big part of this club."
Cozart looking for answers at the plate
CHICAGO -- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart entered Saturday's game 5-for-27 on the road trip, but his eighth-inning RBI single in Friday's 6-5 win over the Cubs snapped a 0-for-14 skid. Cozart entered the day batting .200 in 27 games.
What's the way out of the slump for Cozart?
"I'd like to see him be more aggressive and swing earlier in the count," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "When in doubt, from a hitter's standpoint, attack. Right now, they're attacking him. He's getting behind taking. He'll take a pitch and then [either] foul one off or the umpire will call [a strike] and you're 0-2. It's hard to hit like that."
Baker showed no indication he planned to move Cozart out of the lineup's second spot.
"There are a lot of guys struggling," Baker said. "That's one of the perils of changing the lineup around because you go from one guy struggling to another guy struggling."