Sore Pena sees improvement in hamstring injury

Catcher left Wednesday's game vs. Bucs after pinch-hit double

Sore Pena sees improvement in hamstring injury

CINCINNATI -- Reds catcher Brayan Pena received some good news when he learned that his strained right hamstring was only a mild one and nothing that is viewed as serious.

"I'm improving a lot. I feel much better," Pena said on Friday afternoon. "I'm not running today, but I did a lot of exercise with Paul [Lessard], our trainer. He's very pleased with the results. It's still sore, I'm not going to lie to you."

Pena, 33, was pinch-hitting Wednesday against the Pirates when he hit a double and pulled up on his way to second base. He is viewed as day-to-day to return.

"It's something that I don't see him catching the next day or two," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "You know with hamstrings, especially as a catcher, you're a trying to block the ball or a sprint down the line from re-aggravating it. So I want to be confident that he's healthy when he gets back behind the plate again. I imagine he'd be eligible to pinch-hit a day or so before he's ready to catch."

Rookie Ramon Cabrera started behind the plate on Friday against the Cardinals. No. 2 catcher Tucker Barnhart is expected to start on Saturday.

Pena, who is batting .282/.344/.333 in 95 games this season, hopes to try running and hitting in the cage on Saturday. His and the team's concern is how his hamstring will feel when he has to hustle out of the batters' box.

"We did a couple of exercises with catching and squatting. It feels good," Pena said. "I think it will be more about running. That's why they want to take it easy and see how we're doing tomorrow. That quick one, the reaction, will dictate exactly where I'm at."

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