The Reds may turn again to Edinson Volquez to replace the struggling Aaron Harang in their rotation.
Volquez, coming off Tommy John surgery, pitched twice for the Class A Dayton Dragons in the last week and their pitching coach, Tony Fossas, declared Volquez ready.
"He just came here to get his work in, and he did a nice job with it," Fossas told the Dayton Daily News . "I saw nothing that would prohibit him from helping the big-league team. Everything is good."
Volquez struck out 10 in the Dragons' season finale on Sunday, giving up two earned runs on six hits in six-plus innings. Both runs came on solo homers. The second, to Keon Broxton, ended his day in the seventh inning.
Volquez said his objective in Dayton was to work on the arm angle on his changeup, his best pitch.
"It's much better than it was," Volquez said. "I was throwing my changeup sidearm. Today was better. I was on top."
Volquez was inconsistent in his eight starts after coming off the disabled list (and 50-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs), going 3-2 with a 6.17 ERA. He struggled with control in those starts, walking 27 and hitting three in 35 innings. He did average more than a strikeout an inning, recording 36 Ks.
In two starts at Dayton, Volquez walked four and struck out 19 in 13 innings.
The Reds have a six-game lead in the National League Central, but have struggled to figure out their rotation behind Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. Rookie Travis Wood has pitched well and Homer Bailey has had his moments, but rookie Mike Leake was bumped from the rotation and then put on the disabled list, while Harang has been hit hard in his two starts back from the DL, including Monday's loss to the Rockies. Saturday's starter against the Pirates is currently listed as "to be announced." Don't be surprised if that announcement is Volquez.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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