• Catcher Ryan Hanigan, who has been out since Saturday with a sore left oblique, is ready to return to action. Hanigan has been hitting in batting practice and catching bullpens.

"He's improving," Baker said. "He's going to play Friday. He'll catch a few innings."

Homer surge a good sign Bruce settling in

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One of several Reds to get off to a slow start at the plate this spring, Jay Bruce zoomed to the top of the leaderboard in home runs in just one game.

In Tuesday's loss to the Angels, Bruce was 2-for-2 with two homers. In the second inning, he sent a 2-0 Tommy Hanson pitch to left-center field for his first long ball. In the fourth against Ernesto Frieri, Bruce yanked a very long drive to right field on a 2-1 pitch.

"Home runs always feel good; so do hits," Bruce said Wednesday. "I'm settling in a little more in spring. This is a long Spring Training. No real rush, I'm just doing the necessary things to give you a chance to be where you want to be during the season."

Bruce, who went 0-for-3 vs. Team Canada on Wednesday, is batting .188 (3-for-16) this spring.

The homer to left-center field Tuesday was especially encouraging to see, because Bruce was able to stay on the ball and drive it to the opposite field.

"The key in Spring Training is the work you do in the mornings and whatever it is to get your swing where it needs to be," Bruce said. "And it's direction, staying to the big part of the field. Early in camp, I wasn't doing that very well. I've hit the ball to right but my first hit was a single up the middle and I've hit balls to left-center and that's always a good sign."

Baker welcomes spring night games

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds played their first night game of spring Wednesday when they hosted an exhibition against Canada's World Baseball Classic team. They will play seven night games this spring.

"I like a few because it gives you time to do things," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "When do you have time in Spring Training to go to the bank, do laundry, get a haircut? Maybe you sleep in a little bit even though you can't. At the ballpark, you get to see night baseball and the reflection of the ball off of the lights. You're going to be playing most of your games when you leave from here at night."

The Reds are off Thursday and have a pair of split-squad night games vs. the Cubs and Dodgers on Friday. Later in the spring, there will be some day games after night games.

"You don't mind that because you'll have to do that sometimes during the season," Baker said. "You try to simulate as many things as you can during the season."