Reds starter Edinson Volquez, currently serving a 50-game suspension, will start Saturday for the Lychburg Hillcats as part of a rehabilitation assignment, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon .
The suspension, for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, will not impact his ability to play in minor league games. Volquez, an All-Star in 2008, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Aug. 3, 2009. Volquez has not thrown in a game since last June.
Although he's suspended for testing positive for PEDs, Volquez was allowed to continue his rehab at the Reds' facilities in Goodyear, Ariz., and will be eligible to return from his suspension next week, although his rehab will likely take longer than that.
Volquez could be used as a reliever upon his return to help the Reds' ailing bullpen or he could return later and take some of the pressure off of rookie starter Mike Leake, who has already thrown 73 innings this season, more than half of the 142 innings he threw at Arizona State last season. Leake bypassed the minor leagues and the Reds are closely monitoring his pitch counts and the number of innings he's thrown.
Another Reds starter, Homer Bailey, started for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday night and could return for his spot in the rotation on Sunday aganst the Royals. Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters before the game that no decision has been made on Sunday's starter. If Bailey isn't ready, Sam LeCure will start against Kansas City's Zack Grienke.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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