"Volky goes to ‘pen for now so he can do some mechanical work on the side with Bryan Price,” said manager Dusty Baker to the Dayton Daily News. “Hopefully, he can get everything back together. Velocity is there, everything is there, but he is working on command and most of that is mechanical."
The 2008 All-Star gave up just one earned run in his season debut on July 17, tossing six innings. He struggled through two abbreviated starts thereafter but seemed to be coming out of it with three consecutive one-run games that has been marred by two consecutive five-run outings, the last coming in just 2/3s of an inning.
"My arm and whole body feels fine," Volquez said. "It is just a matter of finding my release point and being more consistent in the strike zone. I’ll work with [pitching coach Bryan Price] in the bullpen and they told me if things work out they’ll put me back in the rotation in September."
Most pitchers who undergo Tommy John typically need an extended stint on the mound to really get their effectiveness back. Even as pitchers make it back to a big-league roster within 10-12 months, it oftentimes takes longer -- something Ryan Dempster told Volquez.
"He told me, ‘Don’t worry about what you’re going through right now because I went through the same thing when I came back.’ He said I’ll feel really, really good next year -- that I have to wait until next year," Volquez added.To replace the 27-year-old in the rotation, Travis Wood is moving up a day to start Sunday. Taking Wood's place Tuesday against the Brewers will be Aaron Harang, returning from lower back spasms . How Harang and Volquez pitch for the remainder of the year will dictate who makes the postseason rotation.
Even though the Reds have plenty of rotation candidates, the NL Central Division-leading squad is struggling with late-season breakdowns. Harang is hobbled by an injury and hasn't been the same since 2008 , Volquez is now in the bullpen and rookie Mike Leake has been shut down, although Leake could return in late September. The Reds have Wood's innings total to worry about as well.
That leaves Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo atop the rotation along with Homer Bailey -- fresh off his own DL stint as well -- as they cling to a four-game lead over the Cardinals entering play Sunday.
-- Evan Brunell
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