HOUSTON -- While it would certainly seem to be that way, Ryan Hanigan is not the designated personal catcher for Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo.
Hanigan made his third start of the season in place of Ramon Hernandez on Monday vs. the Astros. Like the previous two occasions, Arroyo was on the mound when Hanigan caught, and no one can quiver with the results. The Arroyo-Hanigan tandem is 3-0 after Monday's 4-3 win over Houston.
"They work good together, plus Arroyo has kind of a different set of signs," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I don't really like that designated-catcher thing, but it's the way things have worked out. Hanny has caught everybody, and Ramon has probably caught Arroyo the least by the time he got back to Spring Training [from the World Baseball Classic]."
Back in spring, Arroyo voiced concern about the lack of opportunity for Hernandez to learn how he pitched.
"He didn't tell me that, but I heard him," Baker said.
"I always felt like we worked well together," Hanigan said. "He can get into a rhythm pretty quickly. That's the type of pitcher he is. You just have to keep hitters off balance as far as pitching to his pace. It's important. The quicker we can figure out what pitch we're throwing and why and where, the less time a hitter has to feel comfortable."
Hernandez provided the game-winning, two-run home run on Friday but was hitting .188 (6-for-32) entering Monday's game. Hanigan came in 2-for-7 (.286) and pronounced himself ready for any starter he's paired with in the battery.
"When I'm in there, I will get with the pitcher that's pitching and get it going," Hanigan said. "It's been Bronson as of now. Who knows what's going to happen? I will be ready no matter what."
Coincidentally on Monday, it was also shortstop Paul Janish's third start of the season, and the third time he's started when Arroyo pitched. Regular shortstop Alex Gonzalez has also struggled mightily while batting .069 (2-for-29), but he has also played three straight days and Baker is trying to protect the left knee that kept Gonzalez out all of last season.
"We'll push [Gonzalez] to four days in a row with three days in Chicago and the first day home" Baker said. "Then we'll try to go to five or six. It also gives Janish a chance to play in front of his home folks here in Houston."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.