ATLANTA -- The Reds signed Brayan Pena as a free agent during the offseason to be their No. 2 catcher behind Devin Mesoraco. But for the second time this season, a Mesoraco injury has made Pena the No. 1 guy.
Pena is embracing the opportunity, but realizes that he's keeping Mesoraco's spot warm after he went on the disabled list Saturday with a strained left hamstring.
"I'm Devin's backup. That's not going to change," Pena said on Sunday. "But every time I have the opportunity to be in the lineup, I will do my best. It's all about helping my team and trying to do my job."
Playing every day certainly helps hitters get more comfortable with their swing and timing. As a catcher, especially one relatively new to the team, being behind the plate regularly should help Pena with his rapport with the Reds' pitching staff.
"It's not the same when you see films or watching from the dugout than actually working with them," Pena said. "I am still learning those guys. A couple of starts aren't going to make a big difference. We're trying to be on the same page. At Spring Training, it's good for pitchers to get in shape, but you don't really get to know them when they go three or four innings."
Pena, 32, has been a positive veteran presence in the Reds' clubhouse already this season. Not only has he worked well with the pitchers in his limited time, he's handled being a No. 2 catcher just as well as when he's had to be the primary one.
Reds manager Bryan Price offered high praise for the way Pena goes about his business.
"He's of extremely high character. I think he's not just universally liked on our team but universally respected," Price said. "To me, he's very similar to [former Reds outfielder] Jonny Gomes. He was as good of a teammate when he was playing as when he wasn't playing. He was an unbelievable teammate. He wasn't sitting on his hands upset that he wasn't in the lineup. He was embracing his role on any given day of being a support player.
"He'd support his teammates when he wasn't in there then maybe get up and get a big pinch-hit or doing something special late in the game. Brayan is exactly the same way. I think there's a reason why he's been a part of winning teams. He does whatever it takes to benefit the team. You need those guys."
Frazier back in lineup day after resting groin
ATLANTA -- Following a precautionary day off to rest a tight left groin, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier was back in the lineup for Sunday's series finale vs. the Braves.
Frazier was lifted in the fifth inning of Friday's 5-4 loss with the tightness, which surfaced in the second inning while he was running out a leadoff double.
"It helped out a lot," Frazier said of having Saturday off. "I was ready to pinch-hit there at the end but never had the opportunity. It felt great to get some good treatment. I'm ready to go."
It was Frazier's first off-day of the season after he played the first 23 games. Only Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have played every game for Cincinnati this season.
Frazier had no concerns about exerting himself or aggravating the injury, especially from running and possibly trying to take an extra base if needed.
"I think everything will be good," Frazier said. "If I'm playing, I'm going to give it 100 percent. I don't see any signs of setback."
Reds manager Bryan Price removed Frazier on Friday but felt he could have kept playing, if needed. Neftali Soto started in Frazier's place on Saturday.
As for playing Frazier on Sunday, there were no worries.
"I don't think he's 100 percent. But he's certainly good enough to play," Price said. "We feel like there's a very low risk of making the situation worse by playing."