Hanigan takes BP for first time since hitting DL

Hanigan takes BP for first time since hitting DL

ST. LOUIS -- Tuesday was a big day for catcher Ryan Hanigan, who took early batting practice and long-tossed on the field at Busch Stadium for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list.

Hanigan began the stint on April 21 because of a strained left oblique and a sore right thumb.

"It's made a lot of progress, definitely," Hanigan said. "There's still a little bit of healing to do, but I've got the strength back [in my thumb], which is No. 1."

Hanigan recently received a cortisone injection in his oblique area to get some relief.

"They got it right on the spot, and it really helped," he said.

Hanigan threw lightly on Monday but was throwing hard as he played catch with pitcher Mike Leake in the outfield on Tuesday.

"Today I aired it out to just get the shoulder and arm going. It was pretty good," Hanigan said.

Hanigan is eligible to be activated on Sunday, but there's a good chance he could go on a Minor League rehab assignment first. He is batting .079 in 12 games this season.

"I would suspect he might go down for a few days," manager Dusty Baker said. "He was struggling when he left. We don't want him struggling when he gets back."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.