Reds' Hannahan nearing return to game action

Reds' Hannahan nearing return to game action

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds third baseman Jack Hannahan will likely receive a pinch-hit at-bat Thursday against the Dodgers, marking his first appearance of the spring.

Last October, Hannahan underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. He still isn't ready to play defense, but he is healthy enough to begin seeing live pitching.

"As we get into these American League games, I think you can anticipate him being used more as a designated hitter until his shoulder is strong enough to start playing defense, too," manager Bryan Price said.

The Reds had hoped for a full-spring look at Hannahan, because Price wanted to test his versatility in the field. Primarily a third baseman but with the ability to play first, Hannahan could also see time at second and short.

"He's going to play all over the place," Price said. "You guys have seen these games where we play a lot of guys in their second and third position just to see what value they provide us. I know Jack hasn't played a great deal of shortstop in the big leagues. However, if we need a guy to play over there for a game or two, it would be nice to know he was capable of doing it."

Hannahan hit just .216 with one homer in 139 at-bats last season. But Price is optimistic about what a healthy Hannahan can contribute in 2014.

"He's a nice piece -- a left-handed bat, an outstanding defensive player," Price said. "He can be a reliable bench bat and can spell [Todd] Frazier at third. Coming into it, we were hoping he'd be physically ready, because I really wanted to have him spend some time at all the infield positions and maybe play some left field."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.