CINCINNATI -- Pitcher Eric Milton tested his surgically repaired left knee on Tuesday by performing fielding drills off the mound. Milton, who had arthroscopic surgery to clean out damaged meniscus cartilage on April 24, took ground balls and also practiced covering first base. "Milton is doing very well," Reds head trainer Mark Mann said. "He said he felt very good during [drills] today. We're progressing with him as tolerated."
The plan was to have Milton face hitters Wednesday. It's still possible that he could see action on the mound in Monday's Hall of Fame Game at Cooperstown, N.Y., against the Pirates. After that, he was expected to go on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment before he could come off the 15-day disabled list. At the time of his operation, Milton was expected to miss 3-4 weeks. He's already thrown off a mound in the bullpen a couple of times. Because it was the third procedure on the knee since 2002, the club is taking no chances with Milton. "We take in account his previous history of two previous surgeries, no doubt about it," Mann said. "We want to push him, but we want to push him cautiously because of his medical history." Milton is 2-1 with a 6.50 ERA in three starts but hasn't pitched since April 18. Playing through: Utility player Ryan Freel endured a 0-for-4 night in Tuesday's 7-1 loss to Washington. He is now hitless in his last 17 at-bats. Second baseman Brandon Phillips went 1-for-4 with an infield hit and is on came in with a 4-for-29 (.138) slump. With limited options, Reds manager Jerry Narron kept both players in his lineup. Struggling at the plate since taking over in center field for the injured Ken Griffey Jr., Freel was given Sunday off in Arizona to regroup. Phillips was given Friday's game off. Both players will likely share second base duties once Griffey is activated. "With Griff and [infielder Rich] Aurilia both out, it gives them a chance to work their way out of it," Narron said. "Freelie has proven he can hit at this level. Brandon has outstanding bat speed. There's no reason he shouldn't come out of it." Injury updates: Injured right-hander Paul Wilson (shoulder) long tossed Tuesday afternoon for the first time since his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville was halted last week. A date for Wilson's next rehab start in the minors has not been scheduled. On a rehab assignment while on the 15-day DL, outfielder Cody Ross (left pinky finger) went 3-for-6 with a homer Sunday for Louisville. Kid Glove: Tuesday's and Wednesday's games vs. Washington are part of the annual Kid Glove games, a program which raises money to purchase equipment and uniforms for Adapted Baseball and inner-city baseball and softball programs. Since 1957, the Reds' Kid Glove games have raised over $7 million. Coming up: Aaron Harang will seek his sixth consecutive winning decision when the Reds and Nationals meet again Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Livan Hernandez is scheduled to pitch for Washington.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.