Former Reds find themselves back in Cincinnati

Labor Day weekend is turning into Former Reds Days at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds plan to honor former right fielder Jay Bruce for his contributions to the franchise on the field and to the community off the field before today’s 1:10 p.m. opener of a three-game series against New York at Great American Ball Park.

Two more former Reds returned to their team in Cincinnati on Sunday. Catcher Brayan Pena, limited by left knee inflammation to four games with St. Louis this season, was activated from the 60-day disabled list and reached the ballpark in time to line up with his teammates for the National Anthem.

Former Reds right-handed pitcher Mike Leake, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 29 after developing a case of shingles, flew to Cincinnati to throw a bullpen. The results were encouraging enough that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Leake could start within the next few days.

“I heard good reports about Mike’s bullpen,” Matheny said. “We are going to meet as a staff with medical people to determine if he will start on Tuesday.”

Leake, who is 9-9 with a 4.56 earned-run average in 25 starts for St. Louis this season after being dealt by Cincinnati to San Francisco at the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline, has been doing little since falling ill, he said Sunday morning before his bullpen session.

“Just been home recovering, trying to get better,” said Leake, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 21. “I had it for a couple weeks prior to that, hoping it was going away.”

Ice packs: Second baseman Brandon Phillips already was out of the lineup for the second straight day when Billy Hamilton was forced to leave the game.

Hamilton left the game in the top of the third inning with a strained left oblique after taking a strike from St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez.

Hamilton went into the game leading the major leagues with 58 stolen bases and hitting .295 in 44 appearances since the All-Star break.

For the second straight game, manager Bryan Price had Phillips in his starting lineup before scratching him because of Phillips’ left foot that still was sore after he fouled a ball off of it on Friday.

Also out of the lineup was All-Star left fielder Adam Duvall, who was getting the day off on, coincidentally, his 28th birthday.

Welcome, Hernan: The Reds on Sunday promoted infielder/outfielder Hernan Iribarren from Triple-A Louisville and designated for assignment pitcher Dan Wright. Price immediately inserted Iribarren into Cincinnati's starting lineup at second base.

Iribarren, 32, previously played in 24 games over two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting a combined .185 in 2008 and 2009.

Through Saturday, Iribarren was leading all Reds minor leaguers and the International League in hitting with a .327 average. He is trying to become the first Louisville Bats player to win the IL batting championship.

“He’s been mentioned so frequently in our game reports,” Price said. “They’ve raved about this kid – how hard he works. His name came up as an option earlier in the year when we needed a player. It would have helped if he was on the roster, but he wasn’t.”

Wright was 0-2 with a 7.62 earned-run average in four games, including two starts, with the Reds this season.

Next: Right-hander Robert Stephenson tries to become the first Reds pitcher since Wayne Simpson in 1970 to win his first three major league starts in a 1:10 p.m. matchup with Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon (12-7).

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