CINCINNATI -- The Reds are counting on getting an offensive boost from left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who's been out since opening day with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Ludwick is six games into a minor league rehab assignment, batting .133 (2-for-15) between Class A Dayton and Triple-A Louisville. That led the optimistic thinkers to hoping he'd be ready for the weekend series with Cardinals.
That will not happen.
"Not if he's only played five or six games," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "There's no way I figured he'd be ready for the Cardinals. He says he needs 30 (plate appearances). I think he needs 50. He's not only behind -- he's way behind. But he's worked his butt off."
Ludwick is one of five players on the disabled list for the Reds. That has made the Reds less pressed to make a trade as the non-waiver deadline approached.
But in all cases, it's going to be some time. Catcher Ryan Hanigan could come off the DL at any time. Right-hander Jonathan Broxton has begun a rehab assignment. Left-hander Sean Marshall and right-hander Johnny Cueto are not currently throwing.
It's hard to gauge how much help they'll be.
"It depends on when we get the guys back and how productive they are when we get them back," Baker said. "Nobody can say."
The Reds' recent offensive struggles -- seven runs in five games including a 4-1 win over San Diego on Wednesday -- are going to have solved by the players currently active.
"We've got to have some guys here producing," Baker said. "Ludwick can be an enhancer. I love to have him today. But we've got to do it with who we've got."