CINCINNATI -- After spending nearly two months on the disabled list with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow, Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton was activated before Wednesday's game against the A's. For Broxton, his return could not have come soon enough.
"I hated being on the DL," Broxton said. "But I had to do my time down there. It was a struggle the last seven or eight weeks. I'm down for the home stretch and looking forward to helping the team win."
To make room for Broxton on the 25-man roster, Pedro Villarreal was optioned back to Triple-A Lousiville.
Before his comeback, Broxton made two rehab starts for Louisville, allowing five hits and striking out three in two scoreless innings. He felt confident before Wednesday's game against the A's that his injury was behind him, and he was excited to pitch in a Reds uniform for the first time since giving up the deciding run in a 6-5 loss to the Cubs on June 13.
"We're excited to have him," manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm not sure we're going to throw him right back in the eighth inning or not, because [J.J. Hoover] is doing so good. We were patient with Hoover. Early in the year, [fans] were about ready to hang Hoover -- and [Manny Parra]. Sometimes you got to wait on them. We'll probably put Broxton in sometime shortly before them."
Broxton rejoins a bullpen that still performed well without him and injured lefty Sean Marshall. Hoover especially has been effective, as he often took on Broxton's usual setup duties. Beginning with Broxton's June 13 loss to the Cubs, Hoover had made 18 straight scoreless appearances (20 2/3 innings) entering Wednesday, striking out 26 and walking just seven.
"The bullpen's done a great job picking up my slack," Broxton said. "It's time for me to come back and help them out."
Miller chips in with bat before exiting injured
CINCINNATI -- Reds catcher Corky Miller left Wednesday's 6-5 win against the A's with a right quad contusion. First, he made sure to leave a major mark on the series finale.
Miller connected on RBI doubles in the second and third innings to help spark Cincinnati's early scoring. He also played a part in saving a run in the fourth, when right fielder Jay Bruce fielded a Stephen Vogt single and threw a strike to home plate to nab Alberto Callaspo and end the inning.
Callaspo and Miller collided at home plate on the play, and while Miller caught another inning before exiting, Callaspo did not return to the game.
"I think his knee hit right on top of my knee with the slide," Miller said. "He came in pretty hard and kicked it out. It's stiff. I could barely bend down to catch, and thinking about that doesn't help me when I'm trying to call pitches. I don't know if I could have ran if I would have got up again."
Miller is with the Reds in place of Ryan Hanigan, who is out with a sore left wrist. Hanigan is expected to be back this weekend, when the Padres come to town for a three-game set.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said Miller "hurt himself pretty badly" on the play, and the 37-year-old journeyman catcher had a very noticeable limp in the clubhouse following the game.
"If he would have ran me over it probably would have been better for both of us," Miller said with a smile. "He slid in there, his knee came right into mine, and there ain't nothing you can do about it, but he's out."
Baker bumps Frazier out of RBI spot to two-hole
CINCINNATI -- Todd Frazier entered Wednesday without a hit in his last nine games (0-for-28), a stretch that included eight starts. After getting the day off Tuesday, Frazier returned to the lineup Wednesday against the A's, batting in the two-hole for the first time in his career, as manager Dusty Baker tries to jump-start his slumping third baseman.
"It can't hurt him," Baker said.
When Baker puts together a lineup, he takes into account a player's personality, his propensity to hit into double plays, whether he's right- or left-handed, and various other factors. As for Wednesday's order, Baker said it had a lot to do with the importance of the sixth spot behind Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, where Frazier has been most of the season.
"[The] fifth and sixth spots, those are RBI slots," Baker said. "Three and four get on, then five and six have a lot of opportunities, which we do here. I figured we'd try to get him going."
Choo honored with Reds' Heart & Hustle Award
CINCINNATI -- Before batting leadoff and playing center field for the Reds on Wednesday, Shin-Soo Choo was honored as the recipient of the club's Heart & Hustle Award.
Given out by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, the award is presented to one player on each team who "demonstrates a passion for the game and best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game." Bench coach Chris Speier, a former three-time All-Star, presented Choo with the award.
Along with his play and demeanor on the field, Choo was honored for his work through his foundation (Choo Foundation), which helps disadvantaged people in his native South Korea.
Later in the season, Major League alumni and current players will vote on an overall winner selected from the 30 team recipients. That player will be announced on Nov. 19, at the 14th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. Last year's winner was the Angels' Mike Trout.
• After going hitless in four straight games (0-for-16) on a rehab assignment for his injured right shoulder, Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick broke through and hit a two-run homer Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville. Ludwick went 3-for-32 (.094) with one homer, one double, three walks and nine strikeouts in his first 10 rehab games between Louisville and Class A Dayton.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.