"It's been a grind getting over this hand thing, but the trainer has done a good job. I've got my strength back. It feels pretty good," Hanigan said. "I've been doing a lot of stuff, going to the bullpen and just taking at-bats off pitchers doing their stuff, trying to get my timing offensively. Defensively, I feel fine. I've been catching some 'pens, keeping my arms and legs in shape."
To make room for Hanigan on the roster, backup catcher Corky Miller was placed on the 15-day DL with a right quadriceps contusion. Miller was injured during a play at the plate vs. the A's on Wednesday.
Hanigan has been eligible for activation since July 25, and he felt close to a return until his wrist and hand started hurting when he was swinging the bat.
"The last five or six [days], it's been pretty good," Hanigan said. "I definitely think I jumped the gun there trying to come off that first time I had a chance to. It took a little longer than I thought, unfortunately."
Hanigan is back without going on a rehab assignment in the Minors to get some at-bats. He entered the night batting .193 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 46 games.
"I've seen guys do well without a rehab stint," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He wasn't exactly hot when he went down. Sometimes guys can just be natural. I remember [former Reds catcher] Ramon Hernandez didn't go down for a rehab stint and he did great."
As for the catching system, Baker was non-committal. Devin Mesoraco has done the bulk of the catching in Hanigan's absence. Hanigan usually started three times out of the five-man rotation.
If there is a silver lining to Hanigan's extended absence, it's that his legs and body should be able to endure through the end of the season, and potentially the playoffs.
"I had a lot of chances to get some real good workouts in," Hanigan said. "I feel good in terms of that aspect. I healed up some bumps and bruises along the way for sure. I'm hoping I am going to be strong and feel good for the push here, more than maybe if I had been playing all year. That's definitely an optimistic way to look at it for sure."
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.