Aroldis Chapman is getting closer to the big leagues, Reds manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Erardi .
"We'll see how he is in the next couple of weeks," Jocketty said.
The Reds moved Chapman from the rotation to the bullpen in June and after a rough start, Chapman has dominated. In his last nine relief outings, Chapman hasn't surrendered an earned run. In 10 1/3 innings, he's allowed six hits, walked six and struck out 17, allowing an unearned run.
Overall, he's 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 15 appearances as a reliever, walking nine and striking out 29 in 18 2/3 innings, limiting batters to a .186 average against. In his first six outings, he allowed six earned runs in 8 1/3 innings.
The Reds still view Chapman as a starter in the future, but hope to use him out of the bullpen in a pennant race and potential playoff push, much like the Rays did with David Price in 2008.
The Reds currently have two lefties in their bullpen, Arthur Rhodes and Bill Bray. The team sent right-hander Carlos Fisher to Triple-A following Sunday's game and will call up 41-year old Russ Springer before tonight's game in Pittsburgh. Springer and Jason Isringhausen (who has given up an earned run in each of his two outings at Triple-A since signing with the team last week) are part of Jocketty's retirement home fishing for bullpen help.
The bullpen, especially the middle relief, has the Reds biggest concern through the first three months of the season, but in July, the bullpen had a 2.52 ERA, allowing 21 runs in 75 innings. In the first three months of the season, the bullpen had a 4.57 ERA.
One of the big reasons for the turnaround is that Nick Masset, who sported a 2.37 ERA last season, but had a 5.88 ERA through the first three months of the season. In July, Masset allowed just one earned run in 15 appearances with batters hitting .184 against him with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. Rookie Logan Ondrusek has allowed just two runs in 24 games since being recalled from Triple-A at the beginning of June and hasn't allowed a run in his last 17 outings, totaling 18 2/3 innings. Another rookie, Jordan Smith, has also been good with a 2.53 ERA in 18 games. He hasn't allowed a run in his last eight appearances.
A lefty out of the pen could give 40-year old Rhodes a little relief. Rhodes has appeared in a 50 games. He earned his first All-Star bid after an amazing start -- in his first 35 games of the season, Rhodes had a 0.28 ERA, giving up just one run in his first 33 innings pitch of the season with batters hitting .140/.220/.187 against him. In his last 15, Rhodes has a 5.79 ERA with batters hitting .270/.333/.568 against him in 9 1/3 innings.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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