After the Cincinnati Reds re-evaluated Jack Hannahan Saturday, it was obvious that both he and club felt he had fully healed from right shoulder surgery last October when he appeared in the starting lineup Sunday morning at first base.
"It's been real tough mentally. It's been a real challenge," said Hannahan. "It's not easy to watch knowing you can't play, knowing you can't help your teammates out especially when they need you. But I watched Luddy do it last year, come in and work hard and support the guys in any way he could and I just tried to follow that."
He referred back to Ryan Ludwick, who injured his shoulder on Opening Day last year and missed over half the season after undergoing surgery on a torn labrum.
The 34-year old was placed on the 60-day disabled list before the season even began and was eligible to return to the team as early as May 29. Unfortunately, a setback during rehab moved the date back considerably. He began his first rehab assignment on July 8 with Class-A Dayton, and after just four games he moved up to Triple-A Louisville where he played eight more games.
"Being banged up and not being able to contribute is frustrating, especially with the way things have gone this year, especially with guys getting banged up," said Hannahan. "I was brought here to do a job, to fill-in for these guys and it's frustrating not being able to do that."
Cincinnati signed Hannahan in December of 2012 to be primarily a backup for Todd Frazier and Joey Votto. He played in 83 games last season hitting just .216 with 14 runs batted in. Manager Bryan Price said that when Hannahan returns he would be used at first base and that is exactly what he will be doing Sunday afternoon when he will play first base and bat sixth.
Although he may not be the most exciting bat in the lineup, he may bring the small spark the offense needs to begin scoring some more runs. Cincinnati will look to win two straight on Sunday against the Nationals as they'll face Doug Fister who is 9-2 this year.
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