Reds' skipper explains lineup shuffle to Matheny

Cincinnati dealing with numerous injuries to starters in final weekend

Reds' skipper explains lineup shuffle to Matheny

PHOENIX -- While the Cardinals insist that they are trying to avoid the distraction of scoreboard watching on how the Pirates are faring in Cincinnati over the weekend, they could nevertheless use help from the Reds to make the path to a National League Central title a bit smoother.

The Reds, however, will play these final three games without starting catcher Devin Mesoraco, closer Aroldis Chapman and starting center fielder Billy Hamilton. In order to make sure there wasn't any suspicion about the Reds pulling back their regulars to make it easier on the Pirates, manager Bryan Price reached out to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to explain the individual situations of his players.

The message was relayed through the directors of both team's media relations staff.

"That was a professional move and I'd hope I'd do the same thing," Matheny said. "They have to take care of their guys and do what they have to do."

Chapman is dealing with stiffness in his left arm, while Mesoraco, who is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday, is dealing with sore ribs. Hamilton has been bothered by neck and shoulder soreness, and he continues to feel the effects from a mild concussion sustained while hitting his head on the wall on Wednesday. Todd Frazier was also out of the Reds' lineup on Friday as part of what Price described as a normal day off. Frazier is expected back in on Saturday.

Worth noting

• After missing Wednesday's game due to a personal matter, outfielder Jon Jay rejoined the team in Arizona and was back in the starting lineup on Friday.

• Matheny said the club considered various ways to arrange their rotation for the weekend, but it ultimately decided to keep it in order instead of moving Lance Lynn up to pitch on regular rest on Friday. Had the Cardinals done so, Lynn would have been available to pitch on Wednesday in a possible Wild Card game.

"I think you can think yourself in circles beyond all this," Matheny said. "We have faith in Michael [Wacha]. We have faith in Lance and Waino, all of them, to give us a good finish. I think we're going to do what's best for us right now. I think extra days of rest will be beneficial for us and hopefully Lance will feel good [on Saturday].

• The Diamondbacks will be managed by Alan Trammell during this series after manager Kirk Gibson was relieved of his duties on Friday. That announcement was made by chief baseball officer Tony La Russa. President Derrick Hall said he asked La Russa, the Cardinals' manager from 1996-2011, if he wanted to manage these three games against his former team. Said La Russa: "You've seen my tired act. You've seen the last of it."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.