MIA@CIN: Choo reaches safely five times on two hits

WASHINGTON -- Shin-Soo Choo has been doing extra work in Washington, trying to learn the field since it's his first time playing at Nationals Park.

Choo said he's been going out with coach Billy Hatcher early to study the way the ball comes off the walls and screens in Washington, since it's not just one long wall from left to right. There are several nooks and crannies, and the ball shoots in different directions, which happened Thursday night.

One ball hit the video screen in right-center, but rebounded back in the opposite direction to elude Choo momentarily. The only way to learn those secrets is to go out and practice, and that's what Choo's trying to do.

"Game time's different; I try and learn the best I can," Choo said.

This is Choo's first season in the National League, and he's working on learning the parks he'll be playing in on a regular basis. He said Miami, Atlanta and the Mets are the only teams whose parks he has yet to play in.

Choo's off to a good start, with a .378 average entering play Friday, and was in the leadoff spot again vs. the Nationals. Choo's been hit by a pitch 10 times in the month of April.

But that's fine with him.

"Hit by pitch is part of baseball," Choo said. "It gets you on base. Four of them just touched me. I'll take it."

Marshall back on roster, Parra placed on DL

WASHINGTON -- The Reds activated left-hander Sean Marshall from the disabled list on Friday and put Manny Parra on the 15-day DL.

Marshall had been on the DL since April 10 with shoulder tendinitis and was eligible to come off April 23, but the Reds didn't give the word until they were taking batting practice for Friday's game.

Marshall threw twice on rehab assignments this week and fared well before re-joining the team on Thursday in Washington.

Marshall last pitched on Wednesday for Triple-A Louisville, throwing 18 pitches in one inning. He said Thursday that he threw all of his pitches and felt fine.

He had pitched in just one game this season -- against the Nationals -- before going on the DL. Left-hander Parra went on the DL with a pectoral muscle strain (left), retroactive to Wednesday.

Baker grateful Arroyo battled to save 'pen

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WASHINGTON -- Bronson Arroyo didn't have his best stuff Thursday night, giving up six runs in the first three innings. But it's what he did after that which could help the Reds in the days ahead.

Arroyo made it through three more innings after allowing those six runs, so instead of the Reds' bullpen needing to throw five innings, they just needed two, something that's real important given their tough schedule.

"I usually don't like the [term] innings-eater, they eat up innings [and] that's good, but I'd rather have wins," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "But that was a time when we needed him to eat up innings. [Thursday], he ate up innings."

The Reds were behind after those first three innings and that was pretty much it, because Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez threw eight innings of one-hit baseball. 

The Reds haven't had an off-day since April 11 and won't get a break until next Thursday. So any time the bullpen can get a breather, Baker wants to get it for them. Arroyo helped out in that way Thursday.

"I mean, that was outstanding, because he didn't have his best stuff," Baker said. "We knew it and he knew it. He's got some guts."

Worth noting

• Baker entered play Friday needing six more victories to reach 1,600 for his career. That would move him past Tommy Lasorda and into 18th place all-time.

• The Reds have had some real road problems so far this season. Cincinnati is 12-4 at home, the most wins by any team at home, but the Reds came into Friday's game just 1-6 on the road.

• The power keeps on coming for the Reds' lineup. Joey Votto's homer was the only hit the Reds got in the 8-1 loss on Thursday, but that meant Cincinnati had hit roundtrippers in six straight games.

• Baker said no new news on Johnny Cueto (DL, lat muscle) except that he's working really hard to get back and better.