CINCINNATI -- Edinson Volquez's road back to the Majors took a big step Saturday, as he pitched three scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Class A Lynchburg against Potomac.
In his first game action since June 1, 2009, Volquez allowed two hits and struck out three with no walks.
Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last August and isn't expected to return to the Reds until late July or August, although his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug will be over on Monday.
Phillips too hot at plate for day of rest
CINCINNATI -- In the midst of a 20-game stretch in 20 days into the beginning of June, Reds manager Dusty Baker made a point of giving days off to as many players as he could.
For second baseman Brandon Phillips, the day never came. When first baseman Joey Votto missed six games because of a stiff neck, the Reds needed to keep Phillips in the lineup.
Now, with a 15-game hit streak after going 3-for-4 on Saturday -- the longest active streak in the Major Leagues -- the day off from the lineup isn't about to come while he's hot. During the first 14 games of the streak, he hit .444, raising his average to .304.
"There was a time I wanted to give him a day off about two weeks ago, but that's when Joey went down, so we couldn't afford to," Baker said.
Phillips has played in every inning this season except for three, and Baker said it's a testament to his habits off the field. That's something Baker makes sure to help with for everyone.
"Brandon takes care of himself big time," Baker said. "His momma's not here, so I try to bring him some food to keep him strong. I try to bring all of these guys some food to keep them strong, especially in this heat when you don't feel like eating."
Chapman goes five strong for Bats
CINCINNATI -- Minor League pitcher Aroldis Chapman rebounded from his shortest start of the season by pitching five strong innings in a rain-shortened game.
Pitching for Triple-A Louisville at Pawtucket, Chapman allowed one run and five hits with two walks and tied a season high with nine strikeouts. After the game was initially delayed by rain, Chapman threw 83 pitches before the game was halted after the top of the sixth.
Despite giving up just one run, Chapman took the loss as the Bats fell, 1-0.
In his previous start, Chapman had allowed seven runs and walked six in just two innings. He is now 5-4 with a 4.22 ERA through 12 starts, and he has struck out 70 batters in 59 2/3 innings.
Ondrusek pitching in to help bullpen
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have been searching for more help from inside the bullpen to take pressure off Arthur Rhodes and closer Francisco Cordero, as few relievers have been consistently reliable.
One man who answered the call during the last week has been Logan Ondrusek. Entering Saturday, Ondrusek pitched in four of five games and didn't allow a run in any appearance. While his ERA still sits at a high 8.49, it has dropped more than three runs in the last week. He was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on June 1, and in his first appearance since his return, his ERA had risen to 11.88.
"I've been locating better, and that's been the whole key issue for me because early on I didn't locate where I really wanted," Ondrusek said. "I'm gaining confidence here and there, and coming in and throwing strikes really helps out."
Ondrusek said that getting to pitch several times in key situations during a week of close games helped make him more comfortable.
The combination of getting into a rhythm because of the string of appearances, and making adjustments to his mechanics to ensure greater extension, allowed Ondrusek to settle in and get some outs.
"For me, it's good because the more I throw, the more comfortable I get," Ondrusek said. "Before I got here, the bullpen had been used pretty heavily, so if I can give the guys a break and throw a few more innings here and there or throw a few more days, I'm all for it."
Hanigan making progress with thumb injury
CINCINNATI -- Ryan Hanigan said X-rays on Friday "looked pretty good," and he continues to build towards a return from a fractured left thumb.
"Now it's just getting my swing back together," Hanigan said. "I'll start playing light catch next week and see how it feels and then make an evaluation mid-week about if I can start catching pitchers or not."
Although he has been taking swings in the cage, he said he needs a few days to be able to catch, saying the impact still bothers him.
He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 29, and while he said he still can't give an exact return date, being able to hit is a good sign of progress.
Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.