Edinson Volquez could return from Tommy John survey before the All-Star break, Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters, including the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay , before Friday's game in Seattle.
Volquez, who was suspended 50 games after failing a drug test, threw five scoreless innings in his second rehab start with Single-A Lynchburg on Thursday. Volquez struck out four batters and his fastball was clocked as high as 97 mph. Baker said it looks as if Volquez could return to the Reds as soon as July 7.
"That’s what I’ve got on my (schedule), barring setbacks,” Dusty Baker said. “We want to make sure he’s ready when he gets here.”
Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 3, 2009. His suspension was announced April 20. Volquez admitted he'd taken a male fertility drug, similar to the one Manny Ramirez was suspended for taking.
Baker said when Volquez returns, the former All-Star will return to the starting rotation.
“That’s what best for him in the long run,” Baker told Fay. “We’ve got a decision to make when it happens. Those are good decisions to make. When he comes back that’s like making a trade for an All-Star, which he was, through a non-trade.”
The Reds will have to keep an eye on rookie Mike Leake, who has thrown 83 1/3 innings so far this season. Leake, the Reds' top pick in the 2009 draft, threw 142 innings last season at Arizona State, signed late and threw 19 more innings in the Arizona Fall League.
The team's fifth starter, Homer Bailey, is currently on the disabled list, replaced by Sam LeCure. LeCure is 1-3 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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