Hanigan continues to battle stiff neck

Hanigan continues to battle stiff neck

CINCINNATI -- Catcher Ryan Hanigan was sitting in the Reds clubhouse opening his mail on Tuesday. He had enough range of motion in his neck to turn and look at the next envelope on the table.

However, his sore neck kept Hanigan out of the Reds' lineup for a fourth-straight game. He recently visited a chiropractor to get adjusted.

"My spine is a little out of whack and the inflammation left over from putting it into place is taking a while to go away," Hanigan said. "It's just impeding my range of motion. There's nothing I can do until I can move my head. It's definitely getting better, but it's slower than I hoped."

Craig Tatum, who collected his first Major League hit and RBI on Tuesday, started in place of Hanigan, who became the regular catcher after Ramon Hernandez went on the disabled list on July 20 to have knee surgery.

It doesn't appear that Hanigan is likely to join Hernandez on the DL and he's still considered day-to-day for a return. He is taking anti-inflammatory medication and undergoing treatments from the medical staff.

"I'm hoping that I wake up and it feels great [Wednesday]," Hanigan said. "I'm doing everything I can and as much rehab as I can for it."

In 56 games this season entering Tuesday, Hanigan led National League rookies with a .323 average and a .414 on-base percentage to go with one homer and eight RBIs. He was batting .227 (5-for-22) in seven starts after Hernandez went down, but had three hits in his last game on Friday at Chicago.

Should something happen to Tatum, who would manager Dusty Baker send behind the plate?

"It's the same guy that's my emergency pitcher," Baker responded.

That would be backup shortstop Paul Janish, who has pitched two games in relief this season. Janish often warms up pitchers between innings and was checking out a catcher's mask at his locker on Tuesday.

"If something happened, I would definitely suck it up and do what I can," Hanigan said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.