NEW YORK -- Any expectation or speculation that Edinson Volquez's return to the Reds' rotation would come before the All-Star break has all but faded.Volquez had a lackluster fifth rehabilitation start in the Minor Leagues on Sunday as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. In his third outing for Triple-A Louisville, Volquez pitched five innings and allowed two runs, five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Of Volquez's 87 pitches in that short amount of time, only 46 were strikes. "His command was not real good," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He didn't throw a lot of strikes. He threw a lot of pitches early. They made the decision to take him out after five." The final decision hadn't been made, but all signs pointed to Volquez not being deemed ready to return to the Majors just yet. "I'd think probably not," Jocketty said. "He only pitched five innings. We can't have that up here." In his five rehab starts with Louisville and Class A Lynchburg, Volquez is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA with five earned runs and 13 hits over 24 innings with five walks and 19 strikeouts. When he originally went out, the plan was for him to get four starts at Louisville. But since he began so well, the timetable became more fluid. "We wanted him to go 100 [pitches], but they said he was spent at the end of that time," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It was hot out there where he was. He'll more than likely go another one, which takes us past the break. But we haven't talked to him yet to see what's going on."
Harang hopeful to start on Tuesday
NEW YORK -- Shortly before the start of the Reds' game against the Mets on Monday, the Reds scratched starting pitcher Aaron Harang because of lower back pain.Left-handed rookie Travis Wood, originally scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, was moved up to make his second big league start on three days' rest. Wood was given an hour's notice. "I'm ready to go whenever. If they need me to pitch, I'm going to pitch," said Wood, who gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits over 4 2/3 innings. After the Reds' 8-6 win, Harang was hopeful he could get better in time to start on Tuesday. The club had trouble locating a chiropractor because of the observed Independence Day holiday, but eventually found one after combing through contacts and even the phonebook. "We'll see in the morning," Harang said of his status. "I just have to get it to calm down a little bit. He worked on me for a couple of innings to get things right. The injury struck Harang on Monday afternoon. "I was about to sit and lean forward when I heard it pop," said Harang, who is 6-7 with 5.02 ERA in 18 starts, but 4-2 with a 3.94 ERA over his last eight starts. Harang was moving around the clubhouse gingerly, so his making the start on Tuesday is not a given. The club already told Bronson Arroyo he would not move up to pitch on short rest like Wood did. As luck would have it, the Reds' best starter at Triple-A Louisville is scheduled to start on Tuesday. The club could call up lefty Matt Maloney if Harang isn't available. General manager Walt Jocketty would not divulge his Plan B. "We're working on it," Jocketty said.
Lee trade rumors reach first-place Reds
NEW YORK -- Trade Deadline speculation this summer continues to have the Reds as a possible destination for Mariners lefty Cliff Lee.Seattle is receiving offers for Lee, and Reds general manager Walt Jocketty would not confirm or deny that the club is one of those teams in the hunt. A report in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday said the Reds and Mariners talked last month while the two teams played at Seattle. "We'll do whatever we can to improve the club," Jocketty told MLB.com on Monday. "It's going to have to be a significant improvement to disrupt what we've got -- the chemistry and so forth of the club." Lee, a free agent at season's end, is making $8 million this season. The Mariners would likely want Major League-ready prospects, and the Reds have several. The first name that comes to mind is Triple-A Louisville first baseman Yonder Alonso, who is blocked at his primary position by Joey Votto.
Reds' Hernandez sits with sore knee
NEW YORK -- The Reds were shorthanded behind the plate on Monday, as catcher Ramon Hernandez was out of the lineup with a sore knee. Corky Miller replaced Hernandez in the lineup.Miller took over in the sixth inning of Sunday's game vs. the Cubs when Hernandez hurt his knee running out a triple. "He's better. He's got a little swelling in there today that he didn't have yesterday," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Hernandez. "It's a little sore. Hopefully he'll be better [Tuesday]. Hopefully, he'll get treatment all day in case I have to pinch-run or pinch-hit for Corky late in the game. "My trainer is probably tired of me asking him every 15 minutes, 'How's he doing? It was the same as he was 15 minutes ago.'" As for an emergency catcher? "I'm not sure of that either," Baker said. "[Paul] Janish has been my emergency guy." If Hernandez's situation is more serious than expected, the Reds could recall Ryan Hanigan from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville. Hanigan was 2-for-4 on Sunday and caught his fifth game. But in 10 games overall, he is 7-for-35 (.200).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau: When Paul Janish replaced an ejected Joey Votto in the first inning and went 4-for-4 with a home run, he became the first Major Leaguer to enter a game as a substitute and go 4-for-4 with a homer since the Reds' Paul O'Neill did it against the Padres on April 18, 1990. In that game, manager Lou Piniella sent O'Neill in as a pinch-hitter in the third inning for right fielder Rolando Roomes.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.