OAKLAND -- Reds lefty prospect Aroldis Chapman pitched out of the bullpen for Triple-A Louisville for the first time on Wednesday, and it might be a sign of things to come.Since Edinson Volquez had a rehab assignment start, the Reds organization decided to see how Chapman would fare working in relief. Against Toledo, the 22-year-old Cuban pitched two innings in the seventh and eighth and allowed one run, two hits and one walk with three strikeouts. "We may look at that," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "If Volquez comes back and [Homer] Bailey isn't far away, the best opportunity [for Chapman] will be out of the bullpen. But we could still possibly use him as a starter." In 14 games, including 13 starts for Louisville, Chapman is 5-5 with a 4.12 ERA. In 67 2/3 innings, he has allowed 62 hits, 41 walks and struck out 79. While having velocity that has reached 103 mph, he's had issues with consistency and command much of the season. His pitch counts are often at his limit of around 100 by the fifth inning. The Reds signed Chapman in January to a six-year, $30.25 million contract with plans to eventually have him in the rotation. But with the rotation performing well and the Reds needing bullpen help, adding Chapman and his power arm could be a boost.
Volquez strong again in rehab start
OAKLAND -- In his latest rehabilitation assignment start on Wednesday, Edinson Volquez pitched five innings for Triple-A Louisville and allowed one earned run on three hits with no walks and one strikeout. Volquez threw first-pitch strikes to nine of his 19 Toledo batters and reached as high as 98 mph.In two starts with Class A Lynchburg and one with Louisville, Volquez has allowed one run and no walks over 13 innings. He has not pitched for the Reds since June 1, 2009, and had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in August. Someone asked Reds manager Dusty Baker if he was eager to get Volquez back to the big leagues. "If you get eager, then you'll have a tendency to rush him back out of need," Baker said. "We pay attention. We monitor him. Sure, we'd like to have him back tomorrow. He has to be right when he comes back. And when he comes back, we don't want him to have to leave again." The plan is to give Volquez three more starts at Louisville, including his next one on Tuesday. With that timetable, it's likely he won't return until just after the All-Star break. "We just want him to feel no unnecessary soreness, just normal stuff," Baker said. "It'll be nice to have him back -- not just pitching, but to have him here. He's good for your team."
Reds bump Leake back to Tuesday
OAKLAND -- The Reds have decided to push back rookie pitcher Mike Leake's next start back two extra days. Instead of starting on Sunday vs. the Indians, the 22-year-old Leake is now slated to pitch Tuesday against the Phillies as the club tries to rein in his innings total for the season."We just did it this morning," Reds manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday of the change. "We knew we were going to do that with him. We made a promise to ourselves." The new Reds pitching assignments for the upcoming Cleveland series have Aaron Harang starting Friday, Sam LeCure on Saturday and Bronson Arroyo on Sunday. Johnny Cueto will pitch the series opener vs. Philadelphia on Monday.
Leake's following start will be on July 4 vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Leake, who debuted professionally in the Majors with no time spent in the Minors, pitched a six-inning no-decision with 96 pitches vs. the A's on Monday. He has 89 1/3 innings pitched through 14 starts. Had he not been skipped, he would be on pace for 203 innings in his first season.The Reds are aiming for Leake to finish the season at around 170 innings. "That's not etched in stone," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "It depends on how many pitches he throws each time out, the kind of effort and how he feels."
Hanigan headed to rehab assignment
OAKLAND -- Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan's progress from a broken left thumb has been strong enough that will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. Hanigan is expected to be there for a week to 10 days."He's on a program to DH a couple of games and catch a game," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We've patterned it like that." Hanigan has been on the disabled list since May 29. He has been able to hit for several days, but catching had still been painful. This week, however, he has caught Johnny Cueto's side bullpen session and warmed up Reds relievers in Tuesday's game.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.